What Does an Acne Patient Want From Clinical Care?

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With a broadening array of drug options, involving patients in the care process may be a key to adherence and long-term success.

As previously discussed during the Fall Clinical Dermatology 2022 Meeting, the acne vulgaris field has had its own onset of new and improved therapies for a patient population that nears 1 billion globally.

While experts consider the clinical capability of new options such as topical narrow-spectrum antibiotics, prescribers consider the evolving role of patients in dictating their care.

In the second segment of an interview with HCPLive during Fall Clinical, Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, associate professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, discussed the value of patient involvement in acne care strategy. As he explained, these patients often have varying concerns and specific initial preferences for their care and potential outcomes.

“And I do think you have to really understand the breadth of acne treatment options to tailor them to the patients, because not every patient Is the same,” Bunick said. “There’s a reason why dermatologists write more prescriptions for antibiotics than any other specialty, and the reason for that is acne.”

In some cases, acne treatment prescribing is a moving target: patients may begin and fail with topical agents, then proceed to oral antibiotics. Others may begin with antibiotics, but eventually need isotretinoin instead. “Really, the center of acne therapy tends to revolve around not just oral antibiotics, but topical ones,” Bunick said.

Bunick noted past research shows a positive correlation between patient involvement in the acne treatment selection process and actual adherence to the final regimen—a key factor in successfully mitigating the chronic disease.

“I have personally found that patients, when you explain to them what they’re getting for the price they’re paying…I find that patients are more willing to accept paying for it, because they understand why I’m recommending it,” Bunicl said. “It enhances compliance, it enhances that doctor-patient relationship that I think is also critical for instilling trust.”