Harper, J.C Dermatologic Therapy 22(5):452-457, 01/09/2009
One of the primary factors contributing to the development of acne vulgaris is excess sebum. Sebaceous glands and sebum excretion are regulated, at least in part, by androgen hormones.
Acne treatments that block this androgen effect include spironolactone and combination oral contraceptives (COC). Three COC are now FDA approved to treat moderate acne. Dermatologists must become experts at prescribing these hormonal contraceptives. Likewise, it is vital to be aware of contraindications to hormonal contraceptive therapy. Proper patient selection relies on an appropriate medical history and an assessment of blood pressure. A pelvic exam and/or Papanicolaou smear are not required prior to initiating therapy with a COC. It is important to counsel patients about potential adverse effects of COC pills and to establish appropriate expectations concerning acne improvement
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