Is there an association between long-term antibiotics for acne and subsequent infection sequelae and antimicrobial resistance? A systematic review

  08 April 2021

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health priority. Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition for which antibiotic use ranges from a few months to years of daily exposure.

A total of 6996 records were identified. Seventy-three full-text articles were shortlisted for full review, of which five were included. Two investigated rates of infection, and three resistance or changes to microbial flora. Three studies had 35 or fewer participants (range 20–118 496). Three studies had a serious or high risk of bias, one moderate, and one a low risk of bias. Weak evidence was found for an association between antibiotic use for acne and subsequent increased rates of upper respiratory tract infections and pharyngitis.

There is a lack of high quality evidence on the relationship between oral antibiotics for acne treatment and subsequent AMR sequelae. This needs to be urgently addressed with rigorously conducted studies.

Further reading: BJGP Open
Author(s): Ketaki Bhate, Liang-Yu Lin, John S Barbieri, Clémence Leyrat, Susan Hopkins, Richard Stabler, Laura Shallcross, Liam Smeeth, Nick Francis, Rohini Mathur, Sinéad M Langan and Sarah-Jo Sinnott
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