Emerging drugs for acne

Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2009 Dec;14(4):649-59. doi: 10.1517/14728210903251690.


Acne vulgaris is a common skin disorder that affects most individuals at some point in their lives. It may result in significant morbidity, including cutaneous scarring and psychological impairment. Current treatments include topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, topical and systemic antibiotics, and systemic isotretinoin. There are growing concerns of rising antibiotic resistance, significant side effects of isotretinoin therapy, and lack of safe and effective treatment for pregnant females. Recent advances in the pathogenesis of acne have led to a greater understanding of the underlying inflammatory mechanisms and the role the Propionibacterium acnes and biofilms. This has led to the development of new therapeutic targets. This article reviews emerging treatments of acne, including topical picolinic acid, topical antibiotic dapsone, systemic zinc salts, oral antibiotic lymecycline, new formulations of and synergistic combinations of benzoyl peroxide, photodynamic therapy with topical photosensitizers and potential acne vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / chemically induced*
  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / microbiology
  • Acneiform Eruptions / chemically induced
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Topical
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Benzoyl Peroxide / adverse effects*
  • Benzoyl Peroxide / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Folliculitis / chemically induced
  • Folliculitis / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / therapeutic use
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality of Life
  • Rosacea / chemically induced*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Isotretinoin
  • Benzoyl Peroxide