Acne treatment Acne treatment

The Best Prescription Medications for Acne

The Best Prescription Medications for Acne

Acne is a skin condition that can have severe and disfiguring effects on people. The condition is characterized by a red, raised rash and puss-filled pimples. Severe cases of acne that do not respond to over-the-counter or herbal remedies may require prescription medication for treatment. Fortunately, there are several prescription medications that are considered best for this job.

Azelaic Acid

Azelaic acid (Azelex) is a topical acne medication. This medication helps the skin to renew itself and thus can clean out clogged pores that are filled with bacteria that causes repeat acne. It comes in a tube and is generally applied twice per day (morning and bedtime). However, it may take up to four weeks before improvement is noticed. This medication is quite strong and should not be used on skin that is extremely sensitive, sunburned, wind burned or chapped, or on skin conditions such as rashes and eczema, because it can cause a worsening of these conditions. In addition, there are some side effects related to this medication, such as skin discoloration, irritation, dryness or burning.


Accutane (Isotretinoin) is widely prescribed by many physicians when other acne medications prove ineffective. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, accutane is so powerful that it is often used to treat more serious cases of acne such as cystic acne. Due to potentially serious side effects, a patient taking this medication has to be closely monitored by a physician. The medication can cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant. Some additional side effects include dry eyes, mouth, lips, nose and facial skin. It can also cause nosebleeds, muscle aches and sun sensitivity.


Erythromycin is an antibiotic that is used to treat stubborn acne. It comes in a pill form or can be applied as a cream directly to the facial area. Although it can be very effective on its own, it is even more effective when used together with benzoyl peroxide. According to, the oral form of erythromycin helps to kill bacteria in the body, while the topical cream kills bacteria on the skin. Your physician will determine which route is best for you and what your dosage should be. Side effects include skin peeling and redness (topical cream), yeast infections and sensitivity to sunlight (oral form).

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