Pediatric Drugs

, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp 301–313 | Cite as

Guidelines for the Management of Acne Vulgaris in Adolescents

  • Victoria Goulden
Therapy In Practice


This article reviews the treatment of acne in adolescents. The choice of therapy should be principally based on the type of lesion and the severity of the acne, but psychosocial disability relating to the disease and the presence of scarring may also influence the approach to treatment.

Mild acne generally requires topical treatment only. Benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid, and antibacterials are generally used for inflammatory lesions. Topical retinoids are particularly effective for noninflamed lesions, and combination therapies are useful for mixed lesions.

Moderately severe acne generally requires oral antibacterials. Tetracyclines/oxytetracycline and erythromycin are usually the first-line antibacterials. Second-generation tetracyclines, such as lymecycline, doxycycline, and minocycline, show improved absorption. Minocycline has the advantage of being rarely associated with Propionibacterium acnes antibacterial resistance, but can occasionally lead to potentially serious adverse effects. Trimethoprim is a useful third-line antibacterial therapy for patients resistant to other antibacterial therapies. Benzoyl peroxide should generally be used in combination with oral antibacterials as this has been shown to reduce the development of antibacterial resistance.

For severe nodular acne, isotretinoin is the treatment of choice. In addition, over recent years dermatologists have increasingly used this drug to treat patients with moderate acne which has not responded to other systemic therapies, particularly when associated with scarring or significant psychological disability. However, this use is outside the current license of the drug. Isotretinoin is associated with a number of serious adverse effects and careful monitoring of patients during therapy is required.

Physical therapies for the treatment of acne nodules and macrocomedones are also important adjuncts to drug therapies.


Acne Minocycline Isotretinoin Benzoyl Peroxide Tretinoin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this manuscript. The author has no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this manuscript.


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© Adis Data Information BV 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria Goulden
    • 1
  1. 1.Dermatology DepartmentLeeds General InfirmaryLeedsUK

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