GlobalData analysed the number of clinical trials examining acne-related disorders with start dates between 1 January 2009 and 21 January 2019.

Acne clinical trials

Acne is a skin condition whereby hair follicles are blocked with oil and dead skin cells, causing bacterial inflammation of the skin. Severity ranges from common acne to cystic acne, whereby drug interventions can be used to reduce the amount of inflammation. Acne can be caused by several factors ranging from hormonal disorders to dietary choices and can affect people of all ages. Treatments vary, however as acne can be a persistent condition, treatments may not work long term.

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According to GlobalData, the top two therapy drugs for the treatment of acne-related disorders, by the count of clinical trials, are isotretinoin (24.7%) and benzoyl peroxide + clindamycin phosphate (23.8%), as shown in Figure 1. Isotretinoin, also known as roaccutane, is a more controversial drug that is only prescribed for severe cystic acne. Isotretinoin works by inhibiting oil production of the skin, therefore reducing blocked hair follicles and also destroying acne-related bacteria. The reason the drug is so controversial is due to the range of side effects the drug has, which include anxiety, aggression, severe changes in mood, dry skin, dry eyes, headaches, and general pain.

Applied as a topical gel, benzoyl peroxide + clindamycin phosphate is a treatment used to reduce acne lesions. Benzoyl peroxide can help stop the growth of bacteria as well as reduce oil production in the skin, helping prevent breakouts. Clindamycin is an antibiotic that helps stop acne-causing bacteria. The majority of acne-related disorders that were analysed were in Phase II (41.8%), followed by Phase III (20.6%). Most of these trials were led by industry sponsors (65.8%). Among the top five countries to conduct acne trials, the US had the highest rate at 74.5%.

Figure 1: Top 5 therapies investigated in acne-related disorders

Source: GlobalData