Objective: To investigate the effects of an ethinylestradiol (EE) 20 μg/drospirenone (drsp) 3mg combined oral contraceptive (COC) administered in a 24/4 regimen (24 active tablets/4 inert tablets per cycle) for the treatment of moderate acne vulgaris, based on a pooled analysis of two identically designed US studies.
Study design: Healthy females (n=893) aged 14-45 years with moderate facial acne were randomised to EE 20 μg/drsp 3mg COC (n=451) or placebo (n=442) for six cycles. Primary outcome measures were mean percent change in acne lesion counts and the investigators' assessment of acne from baseline to endpoint.
Results: There were significantly greater reductions in the mean percent change from baseline to endpoint in inflammatory, non-inflammatory and total lesion counts in the EE 20 μg/drsp 3mg 24/4 COC group compared with the placebo group (P<0.0001). The odds of women in the EE 20 μg/drsp 3mg 24/4 COC group having 'clear' or 'almost clear' skin as rated by the investigators at endpoint were around three-fold greater than in the placebo group (odds ratio 3.41; 95% CI: 2.15-5.43; P<0.0001).
Conclusions: A low-dose COC containing EE 20 μg/drsp 3mg (24/4) more effectively reduced acne lesions than placebo and demonstrated greater improvement in the investigator global assessment of acne.
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