People with acne are taking antibiotics way too much.
A new study has found a worrying problem among acne sufferers: they’re taking way too many antibiotics, and this could cause big problems for human health down the road.
Those with acne are often desperate to get rid of it, trying everything from creams, gels, and oral antibiotics before resorting to isotretinoin, a powerful drug sold under the name Accutane — but it’s the antibiotics that really have researchers worried, according to a TIME report.
The study, which was published by a research team at New York University Langone Medical Center and featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, these acne sufferers are staying on the oral antibiotics much longer than they should be, which could contribute to a growing resistance to antibiotics that scientists worry could result in “superbugs” that could wreak havoc on mankind.
The study looked at 137 patients who had used antibiotics and then finally resorted to isotretinoin. They found that on average, they took antibiotics for 11 months before opting for Accutane. A third of the people surveyed were on antibiotics for more than a year.
That is four times longer than the Global Alliance to Improve Acne Outcomes recommends, which is about three months of antibiotic treatment.
Dermatologists are largely to blame, the study found. Many times, when a person switched doctors, the cycle began all over again rather than progressing quickly to isotretinoin. And dermatologists have a duty to make sure antibiotics are being used responsibly — especially since they account for 4.9 percent of antibiotic prescriptions despite making up only 1 percent of doctors in the United States.
The reason why people delay getting on isotretinoin is because of side effects ranging from dry skin to depression, but the risk of antibiotics being overused and creating superbugs has been a very big concern for scientists lately.