Many acne patients don’t take recommended medication

by Tayla Holman, EmaxHealth

Originally published here

A small study has found that many acne patients do not take all of their recommended medications.

acne male face

Of 143 acne patients, 27% did not obtain or use the prescription or over-the-counter medication suggested by their dermatologists. At 40%, patients who were prescribed two medications had the highest rate of non-adherence, followed by those prescribed three or more medications (31%), and those prescribed just one medication (9%).

Non-adherence is a pervasive problem in all of medicine, particularly when treating chronic conditions such as acne,

said study author Dr. Steven Feldman, a professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A previous study reported a 10% primary non-adherence rate for acne patients, so we were surprised that what we found was more than twice that.

acne female face

The study also found that prescriptions for topical medications were less likely to be filled than those for oral medications. Over the counter medications were less likely to be picked up than prescription medications, and paper prescriptions were less likely to be filled than electronic prescriptions.

There were no significant differences in non-adherence based on gender or age. Although the study did not determine why patients do not fill their prescriptions, participant cited cost, forgetfulness, or having similar medications on hand.

A previous study found that young adults with acne reported eating foods that had a higher glycaemic index, including foods and drinks containing more sugar and dairy, than young adults without acne. The initial results of the study suggested that it may be prudent for dermatologists to recommend that acne patients reduce their consumptions of dairy and sugar in addition to taking their medication.

Do you take all your prescribed medication? If not, why? Share your story or leave a comment below. Are you having difficulty paying for your prescription? Read this to find out how you can save on your prescription charges.


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The prevalence of skin disease exceeds that of obesity, hypertension, or cancer. Despite skin being the largest organ of the human body, dermatological research remains one of the most under funded areas of medicine. In a world where society has an increasing preoccupation with image and it’s importance to every aspect of a person’s life, sufferers of skin diseases are feeling and being more marginalised and isolated than ever.

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