Relapse of Acne Following Isotretinoin Treatment: A Retrospective Study of 405 Patients

October 2008 | Volume 7 | Issue 10 | Original Article | 963 | Copyright © October 2008

Austin Liu MD, Deborah J. Yang MD, Peter C. Gerhardstein PhD, Sylvia Hsu MD

Background: Isotretinoin is the most effective systemic treatment option for patients with nodulocystic acne or acne vulgaris who have failed a treatment with systemic antibiotics.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of 405 acne patients treated with isotretinoin to evaluate the incidence of recurrence after a course of at least 150 mg/kg of isotretinoin.
Results: Of the 405 patients evaluated, 94 (23.2%) experienced relapses severe enough for the patient to request further medical management. Of the 94 patients, 76 (80.9%) relapsed within the first 2 years following completion of a course of isotretinoin.
Limitations: This was a retrospective study at a single practice site.
Conclusion: Almost one-fifth of patients have a recurrence of acne within the first 2 years. Patients should be made aware of this information, as it will contribute to the development of accurate and appropriate expectations of therapy.