A New Approach to Comparing Efficacy Results from Clinical Trials of Topical Acne Vulgaris Treatments

July 2007 | Volume 6 | Issue 7 | Original Article | 688 | Copyright © July 2007

Joseph Bikowski MD FAAD

Clinicians must evaluate a voluminous amount of information from clinical trials when choosing among the growing number of topical acne treatments. This article describes a simple way to evaluate and broadly compare the efficacy results of well-controlled phase III clinical trials of topical acne treatments by taking into account the placebo effect (or active control effect). Key efficacy results are drawn from the package inserts of 7 primary topical acne treatments. To account for placebo effect, the mean percent reduction with placebo was subtracted from that of the active treatment for each type of lesion and also calculated as an average of these differences for all lesions. Based upon the principles of research, this method accounts for within study variances and offers a quick assessment of product efficacy. Clinicians should be cautioned that this method only allows for broad comparisons and does not establish definitive differences between treatments.