Combined oral contraceptive pill for treatment of acne
Acne is a common skin problem for women. Several treatments are available. Combined birth control pills, which have the hormones estrogen and progestin, are often prescribed for women with acne. This review looked at how well birth control pills worked to treat facial acne. In January 2012, we did a computer search for studies of birth control pills and acne treatment. Outcomes could be the amount of acne, how severe the acne was, and how many women dropped out early due to problems. We wrote to researchers to find other trials. We included randomized trials in any language that compared two types of birth control pills, a pill and a placebo or 'dummy,' or a pill and another acne treatment. The review now includes 31 trials with a total of 12,579 women. Ten studies used dummies. Overall, 24 pairs of treatments or placebos were compared: 6 compared a birth control pill and a placebo, 17 compared different types of birth control pills, and 1 compared a pill and an antibiotic. The six pills studied in trials with placebos worked well to reduce facial acne. When we compared pills with different hormones, we did not see any important and consistent differences. The conclusions did not change when we added trials in this update. Most trials compared two types of pills for acne treatment. Better quality studies are needed to compare one birth control pill with another. Studies should use standard methods for reporting how severe the acne is. How birth control pills compare to other acne treatments like antibiotics is not clear. Since birth control pills improve acne, they can be used to treat women with acne who also want birth control.
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