Cheap diuretic as effective as antibiotics to treat female acne

US analysis finds spironolactone is a safe alternative to oral tetracyclines

The diuretic spironolactone should be used more often to treat acne because it is a safe and effective alternative to oral antibiotics, researchers say.

A retrospective US analysis of data of more than 6600 women using spironolactone and almost 32,000 taking oral tetracyclines has found similar treatment efficacy.

For moderate to severe acne, spironolactone used first line could help reduce antibiotic use and minimise resistance, say the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

Long-term use of oral antibiotics for acne is associated with other adverse effects, including pharyngitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and breast and colon cancers, they note.

The study of women aged between 16 and 35 found that after a year, 14.4% of spironolactone users and 13.4% of antibiotic users switched treatments, suggesting similar rates of treatment failure. 

It also