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What does the Bible say?

The Bible has something to say about skin problems. Many passages refer to ointments and oils. Sometimes medical healing purposes are in mind (Jeremiah 46:11; 51:8, and Isaiah 1:6, for example), and at other times their use is in cosmetics and other roles (Exodus 25:6, Ecclesiastes 10:1, Matthew 6:17, for example).

The worst skin problem in Bible times was leprosy. Leprosy is a disease much more serious than acne. Lepers could suffer from ulcers, skin discoloration, loss of fingers or toes, and other problems. Sometimes raw flesh (what doctors call “proud flesh�) appeared in the sores.

The Book of Leviticus in chapters 13 and 14 gives rules for testing and dealing with leprosy. If it was spreading it was called “unclean�, and the leper had to keep away from others. But often it disappeared after spreading for a while. It became “clean� when it could go no further, even if it had spread all over the body and simply had nowhere else to go.

Acne, of course, is not leprosy. But if you follow the leprosy principle, first try to stop your acne from spreading. Then you can work on trying to get it cleared up. If natural products like the vitamins and oils mentioned in this article help, then use them. But consult a doctor or health professional first.


New Acne Gel Gets FDA Approval

Aczone Gel Uses Active Ingredient Found in Leprosy Drug By Miranda Hitti

WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD

on Thursday, July 21, 2005

July 21, 2005 -- The FDA has approved a new gel to treat acne.

Aczone Gel 5%, made by QLT Inc., is approved to treat acne vulgaris. That's a common skin condition in which oil and dead skin cells clog the skin's pores.

More than 85% of teens experience acne. Some people -- especially women -- have acne into their 40s and 50s.

The water-based gel's active ingredient is dapsone. It is the only acne treatment to use dapsone in a topical formulation, states a QLT news release.

Gel's Clinical Trials

Aczone was tested in two clinical trials with more than 3,000 acne patients aged 12 and older. It was compared with a similar gel without dapsone.

Aczone fared better than the comparison gel. After three months, Aczone reduced more pimples.

Women tended to have more success and fewer pimples with Aczone than men.

Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects in the clinical trials were oiliness/peeling, dryness, and skin redness. Side effects were similar with both gels.

Patients will need to be screened to see if they are predisposed to have a type of potentially severe anemia called hemolytic anemia due to a lack of the G6PD enzyme.

A deficiency of this enzyme may result in the destruction of oxygen-carrying red blood cells when a person is exposed to certain medications or chemicals, has certain viral or bacterial infections, and/or inhales the pollen of, or eats, fava beans.

Those who have the rare enzyme deficiency will need to have regular blood counts done, states the release.

According to QLT, the deficiency was present in 1.4% of the trials' patients. It's more common in some groups, reportedly affecting 10% to 14% of black men, states the release.

QLT has agreed to do a postapproval study in 50 patients with G6PD deficiency. Depending on the results of the study, the company may submit an application to the FDA to re-evaluate the gel's label.

The active ingredient in Aczone is also used to treat leprosy. However, it's taken as a pill for this condition.


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Dapsone Gel Shows Benefit for Treatment of Acne Vulgaris

Dapsone, in the oral formulation, is an anti-inflammatory presently used in leprosy and HIV-associated diseases

Peggy Peck

Feb. 22, 2005 (New Orleans)  A new topical gel containing 5% dapsone is showing promise in the treatment of acne vulgaris, according to results from two studies reported here at the 63rd annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Both studies showed that the dapsone resulted in a substantial reduction in both inflammatory and noninflammatory acne with minor adverse effects, such as mild to moderate reactions at the site of treatment, headache, and runny nose.

"Topically, this is a novel approach to treating acne," said Guy Webster, MD, moderator of the poster session at which the data were presented and vice chairman of the department of dermatology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "It will be nice to have something different for a change." Dr. Webster was not involved in the studies.

In the first study, a randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial, dapsone topical gel was substantially more effective than vehicle gel in the treatment of 496 acne patients.

"Dapsone 5% represents a novel, effective, and safe topical therapy for the treatment of acne vulgaris," said David Wilson, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Forest, Virginia, who was lead author of the randomized trial.

In Dr. Wilson's study, 330 patients were treated with dapsone and 166 others were treated with vehicle gel. The majority of patients had moderately severe acne.

At the end of 12 weeks of treatment, improvement in the dapsone-treated group was significantly greater than that in the vehicle group. More than one fourth (26.7%) of the treated group had a Global Acne Assessment of less than 2 compared with 16.8% of the placebo group. (The Global Acne Assessment is scored from 0 to 4, with 0 being "clear, no inflammatory lesions," and 4 being "severe or cystic acne.")

Of patients with inflammatory acne, treatment with dapsone resulted in a mean 37.2% reduction in lesions in the dapsone-treated group compared with a 26.6% reduction in lesions in the vehicle group. Of the noninflammatory acne patients, 27.5% of dapsone-treated patients had lesion reduction vs 16.8% in the vehicle group. Overall, those treated with dapsone had a 32% reduction in total lesion counts vs 21.9% in the vehicle group. Dapsone-treated patients had few adverse reactions; 2% had site reactions that were mild in severity.

"It was effective and more effective than placebo," said Dr. Wilson. "The global assessment [improvement] of acne was not huge, but it was real. And topically it proved to be quite safe."

The second study  a multicenter, open-label trial of 506 patients  showed the gel was both safe and effective in patients with acne vulgaris.

In the open-label study, patients showed improvement in acne at one month that continued throughout the one-year study period. During the 12 months, inflammatory acne counts were reduced by 58.2%; noninflammatory lesions decreased 19.5%, and total lesions counts were reduced by 49.0%. If the acne cleared, then patients could stop using the gel and start it up if they needed it again.

"We saw improvement in patients at one, three, six, and up to 12 months," said co–study author Michael Maloney, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Denver, Colorado, who presented the results. "This was a long-term study, and we saw beneficial effects in both inflammatory and noninflammatory acne."

In the study, patients aged 12 to 77 years applied the dapsone 5% topical gel twice daily for up to one year. A total of 340 patients completed one year of treatment. At baseline, participants had a mean total facial acne lesion count of 87.0, including 48.0 inflammatory and 38.5 noninflammatory lesions.

Adverse effects of dapsone were mild to moderate and few patients (2.3%) withdrew from treatment. The most commonly reported adverse effects, regardless of the cause, included headache (20%), common cold (15%), and pharyngitis (9%). Most common application site adverse effects were dryness or rash (3%).

Dr. Webster said that dapsone, in the oral formulation, is an anti-inflammatory presently used in leprosy and HIV-associated diseases. However, while the oral version of the drug has marked adverse effects, the topical version appears to have few. "Taken orally it can be quite worrisome," he said. "But taken topically it has next to no side effects."

Dapsone is both an anti-inflammatory as well as an anti-infective that targets the microorganisms that cause the inflammation in acne and calms the neutrophils involved, Dr. Webster said. "It could be very useful as a topical drug for acne," he said.

AAD 63rd Annual Meeting: Posters 20 and 21. Presented Feb. 20, 2005.

Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD


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This is interesting. I've posted on here a couple of times that I think I may have dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) on my face and not acne (even though it looks like acne). DH is due to celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder which causes your body to attack itself when gluten is ingested. Dapsone taken orally is the only effective treatment for DH - and it's been shown that it will stop DH within days and sometimes even if you continue to ingest gluten. I haven't tried it or anything but I wonder if the studies mentioned above took into account the patients' diet at all?

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uhhh. are you aware that there are several forms of leprosy? that it is very difficult to recognize early and can be easily treated with an antibiotic as its bacterial?

acne is a combination of many things including hormonal and genetic actions otherwise everyone would be crystal clear forever on antibiotics.

i did my thesis on leprosy in eastern europe during the 14th century and faulty demographics. There are a LOT of forms of leprosy.

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hi.. i have acne conglobata at my face and at the back.. been taking isotretinoin for 7 months now.. little improvements...

last month my dermatologist gave me MULTIDRUG THERAPHY ( for LEPROSY) and he advise me to take this together with ISOTRETINOIN

Now my acne has gotten worse. :(

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hi.. i have acne conglobata at my face and at the back.. been taking isotretinoin for 7 months now.. little improvements...

last month my dermatologist gave me MULTIDRUG THERAPHY ( for LEPROSY) and he advise me to take this together with ISOTRETINOIN

Now my acne has gotten worse. :(

Keep taking it. There is no other treatment avenue for your condition. You will get some relief eventually, or even permanent remission (at least for your body acne).

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