Background: Topical measures are still the mainstay in the therapy of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris. Azelaic acid 20% in a cream formulation has been established as an efficacious and safe topical drug for 15 years. A new non-alcoholic hydrogel formulation containing 15% azelaic acid was clinically tested against two standard drugs--5% benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and 1% clindamycin.
Patients and methods: In two independent, randomized, blinded comparative trials 15% azelaic acid gel was clinically tested against 5% benzoyl peroxide (BPO) gel in 351 patients and against 1% clindamycin gel in 229 patients. The drugs were applied b.i.d. for 4 months.
Results: Azelaic acid 15% gel proved to be as effective as BPO and clindamycin with median % reduction of the inflamed lesion (papules and pustules) of 70%, and 71% respectively. The azelaic acid gel was well-tolerated, the side effects (local burning and irritation) were distinctly less than with BPO but more pronounced than with clindamycin. Despite these side effects, the treatment was well-accepted by the majority of patients.
Conclusions: Azelaic acid gel is an effective topical monotherapy for mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris; its new gel form is an enrichment of acne therapy.