I’ve held off for a little while from posting I really don’t want to jinx my progress. I’ ve been dealing with hormonal cystic acne since I was about. Spironolactone is a synthetic steroidal drug that causes loss of libido, depression, and fatigue. It masks symptoms but doesn’t solve any. Many cases of acne are hormonal in nature, meaning that they occur in adolescent girls and women and are aggravated by hormonal fluctuations such as those.

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The management of acne in adult females is problematic, with many having a history of treatment failure and some having a predisposition to androgen excess. Alternatives to oral antibiotics and combined oral contraceptives COCs are required. Our aim was to conduct a hybrid systematic review of the evidence for benefits and potential harms of oral spironolactone in the management of acne in adult females.

The review was conducted according to a previously published protocol.

A Pill For Hormonal Acne

Three reviewers independently selected relevant studies from the search results, extracted data, assessed the risk of bias, and rated the quality of the evidence using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation GRADE approach. Ten randomized controlled trials RCTs and 21 case series were retrieved.

Pooling of results for serum potassium supported the recent recommendation that routine monitoring is not required in this patient population. The online version of this article doi: Acne is the eighth most prevalent disease globally [ 1 ].

Spironolactone Reviews –

While this chronic inflammatory skin condition affects mostly adolescents, adult females represent a espiroonlactona and increasing proportion of cases in which quality of life is severely affected [ 2 — 5 ]. A number of variants xcne acne in adult women are recognized, based on age of onset, distribution and type of lesions, recalcitrance to conventional drug-based remedies, predisposing factors e.

However, many patients have no signs of peripheral hyperandrogenism other than acne. Serum profiles of androgens and gonadotrophins are often normal [ 1011 ]. In both teenagers and adults, acne is, de facto, a disease of sebogenesis [ 12 ].

Beginning during adrenarche, rising levels of androgens and insulin-like growth factor IGF -1 mediate the onset sepironolactona sebum production in both sexes [ 13 ].

Anaerobic bacteria, particularly Propionibacterium acnes proliferate within acne-prone pilosebaceous follicles, which are blocked as a result of abnormal keratinocyte proliferation in response to signals from sebum components.

This triggers leukocyte infiltration via both innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. Characteristically, a cell-mediated inflammatory response ensues, in which macrophages and T helper Th -1 and Th cells predominate [ 13acbe ].

Spironolactone, a synthetic lactone steroid, acts as espironolxctona non-selective mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist with moderate affinity for both progesterone and androgen receptors [ 15 ]. Spironolactone is predominantly utilized in clinical practice as a potassium-sparing diuretic, however it has been used off-label for acne since the s.

A reduction in sebum may be achieved by blocking dihydrotestosterone binding to the androgen receptor within sebocytes and inhibiting androgen-induced sebocyte proliferation acme 1617 ].

The systemic effects of spironolactone on adrenal synthesis of androgen precursors may also contribute to clinical efficacy, although at esporonolactona doses this may be unlikely [ 18 ]. The diuretic effect of spironolactone may benefit women who experience a premenstrual acne flare associated with fluid retention [ 19 ]. Successful long-term management of acne in adult women presents a considerable therapeutic challenge.

As an anti-androgen and potential inhibitor of sebogenesis, spironolactone represents a possible alternative to oral isotretinoin and combined oral contraceptives COCsthe only licensed anti-acne medications that significantly reduce sebum secretion, but which may be associated with serious adverse effects in some patients [ 2021 ].

Antibiotics are often over-prescribed in acne, drive antimicrobial resistance in targeted and non-targeted bacteria, and have no effect on sebum synthesis [ 22 ].

A Cochrane review focusing primarily on hirsutism included only one randomized controlled trial RCT of oral spironolactone for acne in its analyses and concluded there was insufficient evidence for effectiveness in treating acne [ 23 ]. In contrast, a narrative review, based largely on clinical experience, highlighted the potential therapeutic usefulness of oral spironolactone in the management of acne in adult females, and detailed recommendations about appropriate use and monitoring during therapy [ 24 ].


Oral Spironolactone for Acne Vulgaris in Adult Females: A Hybrid Systematic Review

Take-home messages from these different reviews are contradictory. In view of this clinical uncertainty, we conducted a hybrid systematic review of all studies that had assessed the clinical efficacy of oral spironolactone for acne in women. The primary aim was to determine whether oral spironolactone monotherapy produces a degree of improvement in acne that is clinically important and comparable to conventional drug-based remedies.

The reference lists of all identified RCTs and key review articles were checked for citations to potentially relevant studies. No language or date restrictions were applied. Outputs of searches were imported into Rayyan to facilitate sorting [ 25 ], and full-text copies of all potentially eligible studies were obtained.

Two authors AE and ZF independently assessed the full-text papers and resolved any disagreements on the eligibility of included studies through discussion and consensus, or through a third party EvZ. Case series were included if they provided supplementary evidence on the benefits or side effects. The following primary outcomes were prespecified: Prespecified espironolactina outcomes were 1 participant-reported improvement in global acne severity e.

Data extraction using piloted forms, risk of bias assessments and analyses were carried out independently by three authors AE, ZF and EvZ and any disagreements were resolved by consensus. Risk of bias espirnoolactona for the RCTs were made using the Cochrane domain-based risk of bias tool and were used to support conclusions regarding the overall quality of evidence in the review [ 26 ].

Data were analyzed using RevMan version 5. Attempts, although only partially successful, were made to obtain missing trial details by contacting the lead investigators of the studies. The protocol specified that data would be eepironolactona according to the intention-to-treat ITT principle; however, for the majority of trials this was not possible due to inadequate or incomplete reporting. Therefore, in general, the per-protocol PP population was used.

Analyses of side effect rates were conducted using the ITT population with and without acne. When available, and unless otherwise stated, assessments at month 3 were used as the basis of comparison between studies.

Data from case series were not reanalyzed but were pooled if the studies were cane similar. Full details of the study selection process eslironolactona reported in Fig. We identified 10 RCTs [ 30 — 39 ], 18 case series in which acne status or severity was an outcome [ 40 — 525455575960 ], and three [ 535658 ] articles reporting on the side effects of spironolactone in female patients with acne, but which contained no data on clinical outcomes.

Baseline acne severity ranged from mild to severe and was not reported in espironopactona trials [ 30323439 ]. The espironolaxtona affected by acne were reported for seven trials and always included the face [ 31 — 3335363839 ]. Of the four trials that included males, two reported results for females separately [ 3339 ] and two did not [ 3136 ]. Six trials espuronolactona not mention any sources of funding [ 313336 — 39 ], one was funded by a manufacturer of spironolactone [ 30 ], two were funded by non-industrial sponsors [ 3435 ] and one received no support from a pharmaceutical company [ 32 ].

A spironolactone manufacturer supplied the active and placebo treatment in two trials [ esprionolactona37 ]. Declarations stating no conflicts of interest were provided for two trials [ 3235 ]. Risk of bias summary: Heterogeneity of outcome measures and methods of reporting meant that pooling of avne from different trials versus the same comparator was not feasible.

Only two studies [ 3137 ] reported the same outcome in the same way for a similar patient population. Of our primary outcomes, four trials included a lesion count [ 36 — 39 ] and five included an investigator-assessed change in global espironolaftona severity, all but one of which used recognized but different severity scales [ 32 — 35 ].

Of our secondary outcomes, three trials included participant-assessed global improvement [ 313237 ], none measured changes in HRQOL and only two included a post-treatment follow-up [ 3034 ]. One trial included time points prior to month 3, theoretically enabling calculation of time to improvement [ 30 ].

All but one trial reported side effects espironolatcona full; one reported side effects associated with discontinuation only [ 34 ]. Only two trials reported the number of women experiencing any side effect [ 3238 ]. Seven trials monitored changes in serum potassium risk of hyperkalemiabut none reported the number of women with raised levels as a result of treatment [ 31 — 3335363839 ].


The ten RCTs included 16 comparisons of spironolactone versus placebo or active treatment. The quality of the evidence was assessed for all comparisons and was downgraded by several levels, principally due to limitations in study design and implementation, and imprecision due to low sample sizes, and was consequently rated low or very low for our predefined outcomes.

Inadequate data reporting did not permit calculation of RRs or MDs for any of the outcomes in four trials [ 30313436 ]. Three trials evaluated this comparison [ 313637 ].

For the inflamed lesion count, the MD in favor of spironolactone was Data for the first phase, which would espironolqctona free of any potential carryover effects, were not reported. A similar problem arose in the third trial, which also included males [ 31 ]. In neither mixed gender trial was the extent of improvement quantified.

Espitonolactona are very confident that the true effect lies close to that of the estimate of the effect. We are moderately confident in the effect estimate: Our confidence in the effect estimate is limited: We have very little confidence in the effect estimate: Combining data from both phases may have reduced the magnitude of the difference in lesion count reduction, which was already large, if there had been carryover of the spironolactone effect after the washout period had ended.

The studies by Goodfellow et al. There was attrition bias in both studies Three trials compared spironolactone acn cimetidine using different daily doses of one or both es;ironolactona and different outcome measures [ 3338 espironolactnoa, 39 ]. Despite these inconsistencies, none detected a difference in efficacy between the two drugs. Similarly, the second study [ 38 ] found no difference between the same dose of spironolactone and cimetidine 1.

Among the remaining comparisons, four compared spironolactone sepironolactona combination with a COC versus a COC espironolactonaa [ 35 ] or combined with an anti-androgen: Neither conducted any intergroup tests of significance and both presented data graphically, with no measures of dispersion of mean values, therefore MDs could not be calculated. Hence, the studies provided limited usable data. Of the 18 case series, 13 were in English, two in Spanish, and one each in French, Czech and Turkish.

As well as these, three additional articles included some data on side effects in women with acne [ 53espironooactona58 ]; they did not address clinical effectiveness. One definite case series [ 74 ] in Portuguese and two possible case series in Czech including acne patients treated with spironolactone [ 7275 ] were unobtainable and had either no abstract or an uninformative abstract.

Two further unobtainable articles, one in Spanish [ 73 ] and one in Turkish [ 76 ], had abstracts containing sufficient information to identify them as duplicate publications of epsironolactona included case series [ 4460 ]. Acne severity ranged from mild to severe and was not reported in nine of the case series [ 4143454650 — 525455 ].

The location of lesions was reported in only three case series [ 485457 ]. Seven studies did not make a clear statement about concomitant medications, making attribution of espiroonolactona clinical effect to spironolactone uncertain [ 4143 — 45495155 ]. Insufficient data were provided to conduct fspironolactona subgroup analyses on the effect of dose or duration of spironolactone therapy on efficacy or side effects.

Within the case series, between and of women The most commonly used outcome measure was physician-assessed global improvement in acne severity, which was reported in all but three case series [ 464954 ].

The only other clinical outcomes reported in the case series were change in acne grade [ 4359 ], change in lesion count [ 5460 ] and post-treatment relapse rate [ 4060 ]. Turowski and James [ 59 ] recorded a dramatic improvement in acne score in 39 women, from a median of two pretreatment to eight post-treatment no measure of dispersion on a scale of 1—10 lower is worse.

In the study by Yemisci et al. Furthermore, in the study by Saint-Jean et al.