For many with acne-prone skin, the most important part of their skin-care routine happens away from the sink. It’s opening a pillbox and taking a prescription oral medication. That may soon change, thanks to a new topical antibiotic treatment that was approved recently by the Food and Drug Administration.
Amzeeq, now available by prescription, is a topical form of the antibiotic minocycline, which, until now, has only been available as an oral antibiotic. Amzeeq delivers minocycline, the main oral antibiotic for treating moderate to severe cystic acne, in a foam form.
There’s a lot of interest surrounding the approval because Amzeeq avoids the possible complications seen with oral minocycline and has all the same beneficial effects. Minocycline is a broad-spectrum antibiotic known for its efficacy in treating moderate to severe acne, but its use is limited in some patients because of systemic side effects when taken orally.
In a clinical trial of over 2,400 patients of nine years and older—one of the largest clinical acne studies to date—no treatment-related serious side effects were recorded. The most common side effect was headache, which was reported by 3% of the study’s participants.
Molecule instability is the reason minocycline has not been available before in a topical formulation, according to Foamix Pharmaceuticals, the company that produces Amzeeq. The new drug employs a new, proprietary stabilizing technology that enables it to administer minocycline in a one-daily topical application.
Foamix’s CEO, David Domzalski, described the FDA approval as “a milestone moment in dermatology and the most significant advancement with minocycline in almost 50 years.”
For all the promise that comes with Amzeeq, it’s important to remember that antibiotics aren’t a long-term, primary solution to acne. Antibiotic resistance is an ongoing threat to our overall health.
As a result of that concern, many dermatologists try to avoid prescribing topical and oral antibiotics unless absolutely needed. Even then, oral forms are limited to no more than three months. And topical antibiotics should always be used in combination with a benzoyl peroxide wash or gel to help prevent resistance.