A New Treatment for People With Acne
With this week's approval of a stronger version of adapalene, the most widely prescribed topical retinoid, people troubled by acne have a new treatment option. The prescription gel, which will be marketed by Galderma Laboratories as Differingel, 0.3 percent, beginning in July, is three times as strong as the existing version. According to dermatologists, the new formulation works slightly faster and is more effective, without causing harsh side effects, a problem that plagues many treatments for severe acne.
That's not to say that side effects are nonexistent. A large, multicenter study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that after 12 weeks of treatment, 21.8 percent of people on the more powerful version were clear or almost clear of pimples compared with 15.4 percent on the weaker formulation; however, 22 percent experienced side effects—dryness, burning, and flaking, for example—while only 12 percent of those on the existing version did. "As with any of the drugs in this category, there can be some irritation," says Roger Ceilley, a past president of the American Academy of Dermatology who practices in West Des Moines. The good news: The side effects are generally mild and dissipate after about a month.