A retrospective analysis of the duration of oral antibiotic therapy for the treatment of acne among adolescents: Investigating practice gaps and potential cost-savings

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Abstract

Background:

Duration of oral antibiotic therapy in acne has not been widely studied. Recent guidelines suggest it should be limited to 3 to 6 months.

Objective:

We sought to compare the duration of oral antibiotic use with recent guidelines and determine the potential cost-savings related to shortened durations.

Methods:

This is a retrospective cohort study from the MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database. Claims data were used to determine duration and costs of antibiotic therapy.

Results:

The mean course duration was 129 days. The majority (93%) of courses were less than 9 months. Among the 31,634 courses, 18,280 (57.8%) did not include concomitant topical retinoid therapy. The mean (95% confidence interval) duration with and without topical retinoid use was 133 (131.5-134.7) days and 127 (125.4-127.9) days, respectively. The mean excess direct cost of antibiotic treatment for longer than 6 months was $580.99/person.

Limitations:

Claims cannot be attributed to a specific diagnosis or provider. The database does not provide information on acne severity.

Conclusions:

Duration of antibiotic use is decreasing when compared with previous data. However, 5547 (17.53%) courses exceeded 6 months, highlighting an opportunity for reduced antibiotic use. If courses greater than 6 months were shortened to 6 months, savings would be $580.99/person.

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