Acne Review

New Foam Treatment Effective for Moderate to Severe Acne 

A recent study found that a topical minocycline foam, FMX101 4%, was safe and effective for the treatment of moderate to severe acne.

The 2 identical phase 3 studies included a total of 961 participants with moderate to severe acne vulgaris. Participants were randomized to once-daily FMX101 4% foam or vehicle for 12 weeks. Changes in inflammatory lesion count from baseline to week 12 and treatment success rate, defined as Investigator’s Global Assessment score of 0 or 1 (clear or almost clear), at week 12 were assessed as the primary endpoints. 

In both studies participants treated with FMX101 4% foam experienced significantly greater reductions in inflammatory lesions compared with those treated with vehicle. Additionally, noninflammatory lesion count was significantly lower among participants treated with FMX101 4% foam compared with vehicle. The pooled analyses of both studies showed statistical significance on both endpoints. 

Skin-related adverse events were reported in less than 1% of participants who received FMX101 4% foam.

“FMX101 4% topical minocycline foam appears to be a safe and efficacious treatment for moderate to severe acne,” the researchers concluded. 


Gold LS, Dhawan S, Weiss J, Draelos ZD, Ellman, H, Stuart IA. A novel topical minocycline foam for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acne vulgaris: results of two randomized, double-blind, phase 3 studies [published online August 27, 2018]. J Am Acad Dermatol. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2018.08.020

Statin Combined with Standard Care Reduces Acne Severity 

Topical simvastatin in combination with standard treatment effectively reduced acne severity, according to findings from a recent study. 

The study included 76 participants with moderate to very severe acne vulgaris. Participants received standard treatment, which included oral azithromycin 250 mg taken 3 times per week and topical 5% benzoyl peroxide gel applied once a day, and were assigned to receive either oral simvastatin 20 mg per day and blank solution, topical 1% simvastatin solution and oral placebo, or oral placebo and blank solution. The severity of acne was determined at baseline and after 8 weeks of treatment using the Global Acne Grading System and compared between groups. 

Topical simvastatin was associated with the greatest decrease in acne severity compared with oral simvastatin and placebo, while oral simvastatin appeared to be superior to placebo. Both oral and topical simvastatin were well tolerated.

“The preliminary results of this study show that oral and topical statins can be considered effective for the treatment of acne vulgaris as an adjunct to standard treatment,” the researchers concluded. “However, further studies with larger sample size and longer follow-up are needed to confirm these results.” 


Ahmadvand A, Yazdanfar A, Yasrebifar F, Mohammadi Y, Mahjoub R, Mehrpooya M. Evaluation the effects of oral and topical simvastatin as adjunct therapy in the treatment of acne vulgaris [published online August 21, 2018]. Curr Clin Pharmacol. doi:10.2174/1574884713666180821143545

Acne Linked to Gut Microbiota

New data showed that changes in the gut microbiota might influence the risk of acne vulgaris.

Many factors contribute to acne vulgaris, which affects approximately 85% of adolescents. To determine whether gut microbiota played a role in the pathogenesis of acne, the researchers analyzed fecal samples from 31 participants with moderate to severe acne vulgaris and 31 healthy controls. 

Among individuals with acne, Actinobacteria were decreased in the phylum while Proteobacteria were increased. In addition, the genus levels of Bifidobacterium, Butyricicoccus, Coprobacillus, Lactobacillus, and Allobaculum were decreased compared with healthy controls.

“The observed difference in genera between acne patients and healthy controls provides a new insight into the link between gut microbiota changes and acne vulgaris risk,” the researchers concluded. 


Yan HM, Zhao HJ, Guo DY, Zhu PQ, Zhang CL, Jiang W. Gut microbiota alterations in moderate to severe acne vulgaris patients [published online August 13, 2018]. J Dermatol. doi:10.1111/1346-8138.14586

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