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Medications for Acne

Other names: Acne Vulgaris; Blackheads; Breakouts; Cystic acne; Pimples; Whiteheads; Zits

For mild acne without a prescription, consider antiseptic washes containing benzoyl peroxide (Acne Clear) or salicylic acid (Acnevir), or creams or gels containing benzoyl peroxide (Benzac AC), azelaic acid (Azelex), resorcinol (R A Acne), dapsone (Aczone), or products containing tea tree oil.

Prescription options for mild acne include antibiotics (topical clindamycin [Cleocin T] or topical erythromycin [Erygel]) with or without benzoyl peroxide (such as Neuac or Benzamycin) or azelaic acid to prevent resistance. Topical prescription retinoids like tretinoin (Renova) or adapalene (Differin), or oral isotretinoin (Accutane), are effective. Combination prescription topicals such as adapalene/benzoyl peroxide (Epiduo) are also available.

Other oral treatments for acne include:

If you have severe acne you need to be very proactive with skin cleansing and using acne treatment. Seeing a dermatologist early on for prescription products lessens the chances of being left with permanent scars.

Drugs used to treat Acne

The medications listed below are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Filter
Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
doxycycline 6.8 771 reviews for doxycycline to treat Acne
Rx D N X
Generic name:
doxycycline systemic
Brand names:
Doryx, Vibramycin, Acticlate, Doxy 100, Monodox, Adoxa CK, Adoxa Pak, Adoxa TT, Doryx MPC, Oraxyl, Targadox
Drug class:
tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
spironolactone Off-label 7.2 466 reviews for spironolactone to treat Acne
Rx C N X
Generic name:
spironolactone systemic
Brand name:
Aldactone
Drug class:
potassium-sparing diuretics, aldosterone receptor antagonists
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes
minocycline 5.7 484 reviews for minocycline to treat Acne
Rx D N
Generic name:
minocycline systemic
Brand names:
Solodyn, Minocin, Ximino, Dynacin, Minolira
Drug class:
tetracyclines
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Accutane 7.9 641 reviews for Accutane to treat Acne
Rx X N X
Generic name:
isotretinoin systemic
Drug class:
miscellaneous antineoplastics, miscellaneous uncategorized agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
clindamycin 7.4 150 reviews for clindamycin to treat Acne
Rx B N
Generic name:
clindamycin topical
Brand names:
Cleocin T, Clindagel, Clinda-Derm, Clindacin ETZ, Clindacin P, Clindacin PAC, ClindaReach Pledget, Clindets, Evoclin
Drug class:
topical acne agents, vaginal anti-infectives
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Aldactone Off-label 7.6 8 reviews for Aldactone to treat Acne
Rx C N X
Generic name:
spironolactone systemic
Drug class:
potassium-sparing diuretics, aldosterone receptor antagonists
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes
tretinoin 7.7 445 reviews for tretinoin to treat Acne
Rx C N
Generic name:
tretinoin topical
Brand names:
Retin-A, Atralin, Altreno, Avita
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
isotretinoin 8.0 1019 reviews for isotretinoin to treat Acne
Rx X N X
Generic name:
isotretinoin systemic
Brand names:
Accutane, Claravis, Absorica, Amnesteem, Myorisan, Absorica LD, Sotret, Zenatane
Drug class:
miscellaneous antineoplastics, miscellaneous uncategorized agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Retin-A 8.0 87 reviews for Retin-A to treat Acne
Rx C N
Generic name:
tretinoin topical
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
benzoyl peroxide 7.8 51 reviews for benzoyl peroxide to treat Acne
Rx/OTC C N
Generic name:
benzoyl peroxide topical
Brand names:
Acne Treatment, PanOxyl, PanOxyl 10% Acne Foaming Wash, PR Benzoyl Peroxide Wash, Acne-10, Acne-Clear, Benzac, Benzac AC, Benzac AC Wash, Benzac W, Benzagel, Benzashave, BenzEFoam, BenzEFoam Ultra, BenzePro, Benziq, Binora, BPO, BPO 6 Foaming Cloths, BPO Foaming Cloths, BPO Gel, BP Wash, Brevoxyl, Brevoxyl Acne Wash Kit, Clearplex, Clearskin, Enzoclear Foam, Fostex Gel 10%, Fostex Wash 10%, Inova, Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask, Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne, Oscion, Oscion Cleanser, Oxy-10, Oxy Balance, Oxy Daily Wash, Oxy Daily Wash Chill Factor, PanOxyl 4% Acne Creamy Wash, Persa-Gel, Riax, SoluCLENZ Rx
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Aczone 7.4 228 reviews for Aczone to treat Acne
Rx C N
Generic name:
dapsone topical
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Differin 6.0 336 reviews for Differin to treat Acne
Rx/OTC C N
Generic name:
adapalene topical
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Epiduo 7.3 718 reviews for Epiduo to treat Acne
Rx C N
Generic name:
adapalene / benzoyl peroxide topical
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
adapalene 6.3 508 reviews for adapalene to treat Acne
Rx/OTC C N
Generic name:
adapalene topical
Brand name:
Differin
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
cephalexin Off-label 8.2 9 reviews for cephalexin to treat Acne
Rx B N
Generic name:
cephalexin systemic
Brand name:
Keflex
Drug class:
first generation cephalosporins
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes
Doryx 7.5 57 reviews for Doryx to treat Acne
Rx D N X
Generic name:
doxycycline systemic
Drug class:
tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Vibramycin 8.3 4 reviews for Vibramycin to treat Acne
Rx D N X
Generic name:
doxycycline systemic
Drug class:
tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Acticlate 5.7 8 reviews for Acticlate to treat Acne
Rx D N X
Generic name:
doxycycline systemic
Drug class:
tetracyclines
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Doxy 100 9.0 5 reviews for Doxy 100 to treat Acne
Rx D N X
Generic name:
doxycycline systemic
Drug class:
tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim Off-label 7.7 196 reviews for sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim to treat Acne
Rx D N X
Generic name:
sulfamethoxazole / trimethoprim systemic
Drug class:
sulfonamides
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes
Tazorac 8.0 30 reviews for Tazorac to treat Acne
Rx X N
Generic name:
tazarotene topical
Drug class:
topical acne agents, topical antipsoriatics
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
tetracycline 6.3 56 reviews for tetracycline to treat Acne
Rx D N
Generic name:
tetracycline systemic
Brand names:
Achromycin V, Ala-Tet, Brodspec
Drug class:
tetracyclines
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
benzoyl peroxide / clindamycin 7.7 575 reviews for benzoyl peroxide / clindamycin to treat Acne
Rx C N
Generic name:
benzoyl peroxide / clindamycin topical
Brand names:
Benzaclin, Acanya, Duac, Onexton, Neuac, Z-Clinz 10
Drug class:
topical acne agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Keflex Off-label 7.5 4 reviews for Keflex to treat Acne
Rx B N
Generic name:
cephalexin systemic
Drug class:
first generation cephalosporins
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes
Monodox 7.8 32 reviews for Monodox to treat Acne
Rx D N X
Generic name:
doxycycline systemic
Drug class:
tetracyclines, miscellaneous antimalarials
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information

Frequently asked questions

View more FAQ

Topics under Acne

Alternative treatments for Acne

The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Acne. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However, there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Acne.

Learn more about Acne

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments

Medicine.com guides (external)

Legend

Rating For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).
Activity Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.
Rx Prescription only.
OTC Over-the-counter.
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over-the-counter.
Off-label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
EUA An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.
Expanded Access Expanded Access is a potential pathway for a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition to gain access to an investigational medical product (drug, biologic, or medical device) for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
M The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.
U CSA Schedule is unknown.
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.