Acne Treatment & Prevention

There is probably no single disease which causes more psychic trauma, more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feeling of inferiority and greater sums of psychic suffering than does acne vulgaris.

Marion Sulzberger

Dr. Ginsburg feels acne is one of the most important diseases that he treats. Particularly, because he can clear up a patient’s face 99.9% of the time.

Acne is a common skin condition that afflicts most people in some way during the teen years. However, the disease can occur to any age group. Adults in their 20’s to 40’s may can have outbreaks, even if they haven’t before. Do not think that because it is common, treatment is unnecessary. Waiting to “outgrow” acne can be a serious mistake.

Dr. G Discusses: Acne & Accutane

Acne is the most frequent visible skin disease in adolescents, and unlike many conditions it is not always always easy to hide.  For this reason, acne often causes problems with self-esteem and affects interpersonal relationships. More severe acne is associated with depression and suicidal thoughts. My goal in treating acne is not only to clear the skin. It is also important to improve the psycho-social impairment that may have resulted. Although acne is a treatable condition, many people still struggle with it.  Part of the reason is that they may have tried treatments that did not work.

I believe the most effective treatment, Accutane (isotretinion), is significantly underused.  Accutane is a derivative of Vitamin A and is an incredible drug that has been since 1980.  It was first approved for the most severe cystic acne, but over the years it has proven effective at clearing all types, to the point of actually curing some patients once and for all.  Not only does it prove to be the most effective treatment, it is also the safest.

So why don’t we prescribe it for every patient?

We don’t prescribe Accutane for every patient because it can cause severe birth defects if a female gets pregnant while taking it.  The FDA developed a program for pregnancy prevention called iPLEDGE.  The iPLEDGE program is a mandatory distribution program in the United States for isotretinoin. It is intended to prevent the use of the drug during pregnancy, due to the high risk of birth defects.  As of March 1, 2006, patients and their doctors and pharmacists are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to register and use a web site in order to receive this medication. 

Side Effects

Dryness of lips and skin is the most common side effect. Depression is a very rare side effect.  For this reason we monitor your emotional well-being while you are on Accutane.  Improvement in your self-esteem and mood is a much more common positive side effect of Accutane.  We sometimes monitor your blood for lipid alterations.  This is more common in people who have a family history of heart disease or are overweight. Alteration in dosage or dietary changes help manage rising blood lipids.

Some people attribute Accutane to inflammatory bowel disease.  The actual evidence for this is very weak. Interestingly, doctors use derivatives of Vitamin A and isotretinion to treat cancers and to prevent skin cancers in certain patient populations.

For responsible patients, isotretinion is the gold standard for treatment of acne.  It is a treatment for any with a high success rate and few significant side effects.  I have rarely seen an allergic reaction to Accutane. I have never seen a treatment failure in those that adhered to my treatment plan.

Clear up for Good

Some patients get better immediately.  Some get worse, then better, and some take a few months to improve. However, ultimately every patient that I have followed has gotten complete clearance.

Once clear, many patients will stay clear for months to years. In some patients, the acne does not return. The dosage and duration of treatment depends on severity and patient’s weight. There can be variation in initial response, the rare flare up and the occasional minor side effects. Because of this, it is very important that a physician very experienced with acne and isotretinion prescribe it.

Isotrentinion is not suitable for every acne patient. Patients with severe cases or those that have failed antibiotics and topical therapy may consider it.

Unfortunately, too many people misled by lawyers or other groups with conflicts of interest remain unaware of how well isotrentinion works. So, if you have acne, we should engage in an open honest discussion about the best way to manage it.  No one should suffer needlessly.

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Dr. Ginsburg Acne Treatment.

Dr. Ginsburg Discusses Acne on ABC 33/40

Schedule an Appointment

If you are ready to get rid of unwanted acne, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ginsburg to learn more about treatment options. Fill out the form below, or call us at (205) 592-4880