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Comparing efficacy of different topicals

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Hi I have complied a list of results which summarises the effectiveness of Aczone, Differin 0.1% gel, Retin-A micro 0.1% and 0.04% and Tazorac 0.1% gel based on clinical trials. These clinical trials are the ones done by the companies themselves and can be found on their websites and/or package inserts. It's quite technical, with a lot of numbers, but I feel it can be useful.

If you are in a rush, just read the bold sentences.

1. Aczone:

Trial 1: Treatment group 48% Placebo group 42% Difference 6%

Trial 2: Treatment group 39% Placebo group 32% Difference 7%

Average improvement over placebo: 6.5%

2. Differin 0.1% gel

Trial 1: Treatment group 34% Placebo group 18% Difference 16%

Trial 2: Treatment group 30% Placebo group 15% Difference 15%

Average improvement over placebo: 15.5%

3. Retin-A Micro 0.1%

Trial 1: Treatment group 45% Placebo group 32% Difference 13%

Trial 2: Treatment group 32% Placebo group 16% Difference 16%

Average improvement over placebo: 14.5%

4. Retin-A Micro 0.04%

Trial 1: Treatment group 40% Placebo group 8% Difference 32%

Trial 2: Treatment group 35% Placebo group 20% Difference 15%

Average improvement over placebo: 23.5%

5. Tazorac 0.1% gel

Trial 1: Treatment group 52% Placebo group 33% Difference 19%

Trial 2: Treatment group 45% Placebo group 27% Difference 18%

Average improvement over placebo: 18.5%

I am not a professional researcher, so I don't know how to perform those fancy meta-analyses. As a rough estimate, I just took averages of both relevant trials. Also, I know that technically we are not able to compare their effectiveness based on these values since they are not compared to one another in the same trial. Nevertheless, I think it has some value in influencing out choices of medication. Also, please not that the results do not take into account the tolerability of each drug, only the therapeutic effect size.

Based on these results, the best performer is RAM 0.04%, followed by Tazorac, followed by Differin and RAM 0.1% which have roughly the same results. The worst performer is Aczone. I was pretty shocked by the dismal improvement (only 6.5%). It's weird how it got approved.

Anyway, I hope you found it useful ;)

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