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Comparison of the cumulative irritation potential of adapalene gel and cream with that of erythromycin/tretinoin solution and gel and erythromycin/isotretinoin gel.

Author(s): Queille-Roussel C, Poncet M, Mesaros S, Clucas A, Baker M, Soloff AM

Affiliation(s): Centre de Pharmacologie Clinique Applique a la Dermatologie, Nice, France.

Publication date & source: 2001-02, Clin Ther., 23(2):205-12.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Adapalene is a naphthoic acid derivative with retinoid activity that is effective in the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris. OBJECTIVE: This study assessed the cumulative irritation potential of adapalene gel (0.1%) and adapalene cream (0.1%) compared with that of erythromycin (4%)/tretinoin (0.025%) solution, erythromycin (4%)/tretinoin (0.025%) gel, erythromycin (2%)/isotretinoin (0.05%) gel, and white petrolatum (negative control). METHODS: This was a single-center, randomized, controlled, investigator-blinded, intraindividual comparison study in healthy subjects with normal skin. The cumulative irritation assay (patch test) was used to assess the potential for irritation (including erythema) of the treatments. Each subject received all study treatments, randomly applied under occlusion (patch), to sites on either side of the midline on the mid-thoracic area of the back. All patches were applied to the same sites throughout the study, unless the degree of reaction to the treatment or adhesive necessitated removal. For 3 weeks, each test material was applied daily, Monday through Friday, for approximately 24 hours; the Friday patches were left in place over the weekend for approximately 72 hours. RESULTS: All 36 subjects (26 men, 10 women; age, 18-49 years [mean, 30 years]) completed the study. In the course of the study, all subjects had > or =1 application discontinued prematurely on > or =1 site due to intolerance. There were no discontinuations with white petrolatum. All erythromycin/tretinoin gel patches were discontinued at day 10; 35 of 36 erythromycin/isotretinoin gel patches were discontinued at day 9; and 35 of 36 erythromycin/tretinoin solution patches were discontinued at day 11 or day 17. The adapalene products, although slightly more irritating (mean cumulative irritation index, 0.25-1) than white petrolatum, were significantly less irritating than the erythromycin/tretinoin and erythromycin/isotretinoin products (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Adapalene gel and cream were well tolerated, with possible benefits for compliance. Their low irritation potential should be considered when prescribing a topical retinoid for the treatment of acne vulgaris.

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