Tazarotene 0.045% Lotion for the Once-Daily Treatment of Moderate-to-Severe Acne Vulgaris in Adult Males

January 2020 | Volume 19 | Issue 1 | Original Article | 78 | Copyright © January 2020

Published online December 13, 2019

Fran E. Cook-Bolden , Michael H. Gold , Eric Guenin

aMount Sinai Health System, New York, NY bTennnessee Clinical Research Center, Nashville, TN cOrtho Dermatologics, Bridgewater, NJ

BACKGROUND: There has been an increasing interest in gender differences both in the pathogenesis and treatment of acne vulgaris (acne). However, while acne prevalence among adolescents is comparable across sexes, acne is much more common in adult women than in adult men which has been largely ignored. Acne is likely less common in adult men because of the declining rate of sebum secretion observed with increasing age, and yet it can be more severe than in adult women. In addition, adherence to topical medications is especially poor in adult men where tactile and sensory perceptions are low. The first lotion formulation of tazarotene was developed using polymeric emulsion technology to provide an important alternative option to treat these acne patients, especially those who may be sensitive to the irritant effects of other tazarotene formulations.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of a new tazarotene 0.045% lotion formulation based on polymeric emulsion technology in treating adult male subjects with moderate or severe acne, in comparison with adolescent males treated with the same tazarotene 0.045% lotion.

METHODS: Post hoc analysis of two multicenter, randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled phase 3 studies in moderate-or-severe acne. Subjects (aged 10 and older, N=1614) were randomized (1:1) to receive tazarotene 0.045% lotion or vehicle, once-daily for 12 weeks. Efficacy assessments included changes in baseline inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions and treatment success (at least 2-grade reduction in Evaluator’s Global Severity Score [EGSS] and clear or almost clear). Quality of Life was assessed using the validated Acne-QoL scale. Safety, adverse events (AEs) were evaluated throughout; cutaneous tolerability (using a 4-point scale where 0=none and 3=severe) at each study visit.

RESULTS: A total of 268 male subjects (85≥18 years old and 183<18 years old) were treated with tazarotene 0.045% lotion once-daily for 12 weeks. At week 12, percent reductions in inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions with tazarotene 0.045% lotion were 62.3% and 59.5% in the adult male population, compared with 49.4% (P=0.001) and 49.5% (P=0.016) in the adolescent male population. Treatment success was achieved by 33.0% of adult male subjects treated with tazarotene 0.045% lotion, compared with 21.6% in the adolescent male population (P=0.059). Quality of life (as assessed by Acne-QoL domain scores) was better in adolescent males at baseline. Improvements in QoL domain scores were similar to those seen in the overall study population, with greater absolute change in domain scores in the adult males. Improvement in acne symptom scores was significantly greater in adult males (P=0.029). Tazarotene 0.045% lotion was well-tolerated. The number of subjects reporting any AE in the adult male population was 11 (13.6%) compared with 39 (21.4%) in the adolescent male population. There was only one (1.2%) treatment-related AE (application site pain) reported in the adult males compared with 11 (6.0%) in the adolescent males, where the most common treatment-related AEs were application site pain (3.3%), dryness (1.1%), and erythema (1.1%). Mean scores for hyper- and hypopigmentation were very low at baseline in both groups with no appreciable change with treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Tazarotene 0.045% lotion provides greater efficacy and better tolerability in adult males (above 18 years old) than the adolescent male population with moderate-to-severe acne patients.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2020;19(1):78-85. doi:10.36849/JDD.2020.3979


Although acne prevalence is comparable among adolescents of both genders,1 it is much more common in adult females than adult males.2,3 While there has been increased interest in adult female acne,4 acne in adult males has largely been ignored and data specifically looking at their management sparse. The mechanisms behind the development of acne lesions are multifactorial. Increased sebum production has been shown to play an important role,5,6 and it has been suggested that acne may be less common in adult males because of the declining rate of sebum secretion observed with increasing age.7 If acne pathogenesis in men is more dependent on sebum production, treatments that can reduce sebum such as retinoids may be beneficial.8-10