Background: Despite advances in acne therapy in recent years, treatment failure is common. Isotretinoin is the only drug that affects almost all factors in acne pathogenesis, but side-effects are common at the doses reported in published studies in the literature. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of low daily dose isotretinoin in moderate to severe acne patients. The secondary objective was to measure the rate of relapse 5 years after the completion of therapy.
Materials and methods: In this retrospective, noncomparative study, 146 patients with moderate to severe scare prone acne. Treatment regimen consisted of isotretinoin, fixed 20 mg daily, and duration of treatment-based on the weight of patient, until total cumulative dose of 120 mg/kg of body weight is achieved. No topical or other systemic therapy was allowed during the trial. Liver function tests (serum glutamic-oxalocetic transaminase, serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase, direct and total bilirubin), and lipid profiles (total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein, triglyceride) were evaluated for all patients, before the initiation of treatment and again after the 2(nd) month of treatment. All data analyzed by Microsoft Office Excel 2007; in descriptive statics frequency and SPSS.18 software.
Results: At the end of treatment course, (96.4%) demonstrated complete clearing of their acne, defined as no acne or occasional isolated lesions. In 5-year follow-up, relapse accrued in 11 (7.9%) of patients. All adverse effects were mild, and discontinuation of treatment was not necessary.
Conclusion: Low dose isotretinoin was found to be a safe and effective choice for patients with moderate to severe scar prone acne vulgaris.
Keywords: Acne; isotretinoin; low dose.