The pulsed-dye laser as an adjuvant treatment modality in acne vulgaris: a randomized controlled single-blinded trial

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Abstract

Background

Acne vulgaris is the most common skin disease and can pose a substantial therapeutic challenge. Recently, several phototherapeutic modalities, most notably pulsed-dye laser (PDL) treatment, have been introduced, but the published results – albeit promising – are controversial.

Objectives

To assess the efficacy of an adjuvant PDL treatment when combined with a proven topical treatment [fixed-combination clindamycin 1%–benzoyl peroxide 5% hydrating gel (C/BPO)].

Methods

Eighty patients (38 males and 42 females, mean ± SD age 19·7 ± 5·9 years) were randomized in a 1:2 ratio to receive C/BPO alone or in combination with PDL treatment (wavelength 585 nm, energy fluence 3 J cm−2, pulse duration 0·35 ms, spot size 7 mm). Patients were evaluated at baseline and at 2 and 4 weeks after initial treatment. The primary end points were the Investigator's Static Global Assessment (ISGA) score and lesion count; the secondary end point was the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI).

Results

Both groups showed a significant improvement during observation [ISGA 27·1% (C/BPO) and 24·6% (C/BPO + laser), total lesion count 9·2% and 9·0%, inflammatory lesion count 36·3% and 36·9%, DLQI 54·5% and 42·5%], but there was no significant or otherwise appreciable difference between treatment modalities as far as the extent of improvement was concerned. Patients with more severe findings at baseline had a greater benefit from either therapy regimen.

Conclusions

Our findings do not support the concept of a substantial benefit of PDL treatment in acne vulgaris.

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