Antibiotics for Acne May Not Up Prevalence of S. aureus

Long-term tetracycline use for acne may lower prevalence without increasing resistance

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Contrary to common ideology, use of long-term tetracycline antibiotics for acne treatment does not appear to increase the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) or resistance to the antibiotics, according to research published online April 11 in the Archives of Dermatology.

Matthew Fanelli, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed 83 patients being evaluated and treated for acne to determine the frequency of S. aureus colonization in these patients and compare susceptibility patterns according to antibiotic use.

The researchers found S. aureus colonization in 36 (43 percent) of the patients. When those using antibiotics were compared with nonusers, the prevalence odds ratio for the colonization of S. aureus was 0.16 after one to two months of exposure and 0.52 after two months of exposure (P = 0.31). S. aureus isolates were frequently resistant to clindamycin and erythromycin treatment (40 and 44 percent, respectively), but less than 10 percent were resistant to tetracycline antibiotics.

"Unlike current dogma about the long-term use of antimicrobial agents, the prolonged use of tetracycline antibiotics commonly used to treat acne lowered the prevalence of colonization by S. aureus and did not increase resistance to the tetracycline antibiotics," the authors write.

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