Oral isotretinoin is as effective as a combination of oral isotretinoin and topical anti-acne agents in nodulocystic acne

Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2008 Mar-Apr;74(2):187. doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.39727.


Background: Due to the late introduction of oral isotretinoin, there is only a single report of the use of this drug from India.

Aims: To evaluate the efficacy, acceptability and side effects of oral isotretinoin in Indian conditions and to compare the efficacy of oral isotretinoin monotherapy with that of a combination of oral isotretinoin and topical anti-acne agents.

Methods: Sixty clinically diagnosed patients of nodulocystic acne were divided into two groups of 30 each. Patients in group A were administered oral isotretinoin 20 mg twice a day along with topical clindamycin (1%) and adapalene (0.1%) for 24 weeks. Patients in group B were given only oral isotretinoin. An objective clinical scoring was repeated every four weeks and patients were followed up for six months on completion of treatment.

Results: Out of the 60 patients, 50 completed the treatment and 35 completed the follow-up at six months. The mean pretreatment score in group A came down from 12.8 to 1.24 and in group B from 12.4 to 1.48, thus showing a 90.55% and 88% reduction in pretreatment scores respectively. There was no statistical difference in the results obtained from the two groups. Side effects were common but minor in nature.

Conclusion: Isotretinoin produces gratifying results in patients of nodulocystic acne in Indian conditions. Addition of topical antiacne agents does not alter the final outcome. This addition is well tolerated but requires careful monitoring.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Administration, Oral
  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / administration & dosage*
  • Male


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Isotretinoin