There are many types of tablets used to treat acne, ranging from vitamins and supplements, through to antibiotics and special tablets prescribed by dermatologists.
Depending on the severity of your acne, your previous success and failures, our team will come up with an effective solution to treat and cure your acne.
In most cases we combine a tablet with a cream called a ‘retinoid’, in severe cases of acne a drug called Oratane or Roaccutane is used. We can also combine tablets with chemical peels, or even laser treatment.
The Acne Specialist Clinic uses various treatment combinations to tailor a acne-free program for you. An individualised approach gives the best outcomes.
Specialist Perspective on tablets for acne
Tablets are a vital part of treatment for hormonal or inflammatory acne. We usually prescribe a combination of oral antibiotic tablets and the hormonal pill, along with topical vitamin A creams to give the quickest, optimal improvement for patients. If acne is stubborn or threatening to scar, we use Roaccutane/Oratane. This is extremely effective and can change the long-term outcome for many patients, and prevent significant scarring. Like any other treatment, it has a specific set of side effects and requires close monitoring by a dermatologist - however results may be exceptional and life changing. ACNE CAN BE CURED – seek help early.
There are 3 main groups of tablets for acne:
- Hormonal pills
- Isotretinoin (Roaccutane/Oratane)
Treatment usually needs to be continued for 3 months. Isotretinoin treatment generally lasts 6-12 months, whereby treatment with antibiotics and hormonal pills may be variable durations based on response.
All medications have their own particular potential side effects. However, as long as your treatment is prescribed and monitored by a specialist, these risks can be minimised.
Antibiotics may cause gastrointestinal problems, sun sensitivity and thrush. Hormonal pills may cause weight gain, mood disturbances and have an effect on menstrual cycle.
Isotretinoin has its own set of side effects, the main ones being skin/lip dryness and sun sensitivity. Less common side effects do exist and this is a drug that requires prescription by a specialist dermatologist – as long as a tailored treatment plan is followed and side effects monitored, this is the most effective medication for acne treatment.
Tablets are usually combined with one another, topical creams and chemical peels or laser and light treatment modalities to provide the most effect and rapid improvement. Your dermatologist will tailor the perfect program for your skin.
Yes. In females, certain oral contraceptive pills may help improve acne, both in younger girls as well as women with a resistant form of acne known as adult female jaw line acne. Pills such as Diane-ED, Estelle, Yasmin and Yaz work by reducing the impact of androgens on the sebaceous glands in the skin. It is important to realise, however, that some pills and hormonal contraception may actually may acne worse, so your dermatologist will coordinate with your GP to prescribe the most appropriate type.
Roaccutane/Oratane is a vitamin A medication known as isotretinoin. For acne that is resistant to other treatment, or for acne that is beginning to cause scarring, this is the treatment of choice.
As it has its own set of side effects that need close monitoring, Roaccutane can only be prescribed by specialist dermatologists.
Over 80% of patients who complete a 6-12 month course of Roaccutane are permanently cured of their acne.
The main restriction with roaccutane is that patients may not fall pregnant during, or for one month after, treatment, as the risk to the unborn fetus is extremely high. There are, however, no long-term implications to fertility by being on roaccutane.
The priority should always be to cure the ongoing acne that is resulting in the acne. However, certain scar treatments may be undertaken while patients are on tablets to treat their acne. Your dermatologist will guide you as to what procedures may be safely undertaken while still on tablets.
Westside Dermatology is currently undertaking research into the use of radiofrequency (RF) treatments in conjunction with low-dose isotretionoin. Ask your dermatologist if this may be a suitable option for you.
Your GP may be able to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic and hormonal tablets for mild to moderate acne. They may also refer you to a dermatologist to provide you with combination treatments with tablets, creams and chemical peels/LED treatments.
Roaccutane/Oratane, however, can only be prescribed by specialist dermatologists and requires close monitoring.
A referral from your GP is not required, however this is encouraged. A referral will keep your GP up to date with your medical treatments, and also enable you to claim a partial refund from Medicare.
Call the Acne Specialist Clinic on 07 3871 34 37 to make a booking or ask about the referral process.