EPIDUO 0.3% / 2.5% GEL
Active substance(s): ADAPALENE / BENZOYL PEROXIDE
NAME OF THE MEDICINAL PRODUCT
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel
QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE COMPOSITION
One gram of gel contains:
adapalene 3 mg (0.3%)
benzoyl peroxide 25 mg (2.5%)
Excipient with known effect: propylene glycol (E1520) 40 mg (4.0%)
For the full list of excipients, see section 6.1.
White to very pale yellow opaque gel.
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel is indicated for the cutaneous treatment of Acne vulgaris,
when comedones, numerous papules and pustules are present (see sections 4.2 and
Posology and method of administration
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel should be applied once a day in the evening to the entire acne
affected areas of the face and the trunk on a clean and dry skin.
The duration of treatment should be determined by the doctor based on the overall
clinical condition and on the therapeutic response to the treatment. Early signs of
clinical improvement usually appear after 1 to 4 weeks of treatment. If no
improvement is observed after 4-8 weeks treatment, the benefit of continued
treatment should be reconsidered.
A lower strength of Epiduo is available (Epiduo 0.1% / 2.5% gel) and this
concentration should be considered in patients with moderate acne vulgaris (see
When the entire face is involved with numerous papulopustules, an increased clinical
benefit was observed in the subjects treated with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel compared
with the reference therapy (Epiduo 0.1% / 2.5% gel). Doctors may choose between
the two concentrations based on the presenting patient’s clinical condition and
The safety and efficacy of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel in geriatric patients aged 65 years
and above have not been established.
Renal and hepatic impairment
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel has not been studied in patients with renal and hepatic
The safety and efficacy of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel have not been studied in children
below 12 years of age.
Method of administration
Cutaneous use only.
Apply a thin layer of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel to affected areas of the face and/or
trunk once daily after washing. Use a pea-sized amount for each area of the face (e.g.
forehead, chin, each cheek), avoiding the eyes and lips (see section 4.4).
Patients should be instructed to wash their hands after applying the medicinal
Cosmetics may be applied after the medicinal product has dried.
If irritation occurs, the patient should be directed to apply non-comedogenic
moisturisers as needed, to use the medication less frequently (e.g. every other day), to
suspend use temporarily, or to discontinue use altogether.
Hypersensitivity to the active substances or to any of the excipients listed in
Special warnings and precautions for use
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel should not be applied to damaged skin, either broken (cuts or
abrasions), sunburn or eczematous skin.
The medicinal product should not come into contact with the eyes, lips, mouth,
nostrils or mucous membranes. If product enters the eye, wash immediately with
If a reaction suggesting sensitivity to any component of the formula occurs, the use of
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel should be discontinued.
Excessive exposure to sunlight or UV radiation should be avoided.
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel should not come into contact with any coloured material
including hair and dyed fabrics as this may result in bleaching and discoloration.
This product contains propylene glycol (E1520) that may cause skin irritation.
Epiduo 0.3%/2.5% gel should not be used during pregnancy or in women of
childbearing potential not using adequate contraception (see section 4.6).
The efficacy and safety of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel in patients with severe nodular or
deep nodulocystic acne have not been studied. As patients with severe
nodular / nodulocystic acne are at increased risk of permanent scarring secondary to
acne lesions, the use of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel in these patients is not recommended
due to the risk of insufficient therapeutic response.
Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction
No interaction studies have been conducted with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel.
From previous experience with adapalene and benzoyl peroxide, there are no known
interactions with other medicinal products which might be used cutaneously and
concurrently with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel. However, other retinoids or benzoyl
peroxide or drugs with a similar mode of action should not be used concurrently.
Caution should be exercised if cosmetics with desquamative, irritant or drying effects
are used, as they may produce additive irritant effects with the medicinal product.
Absorption of adapalene through human skin is low (see section 5.2), and therefore
interaction with systemic medicinal products is unlikely.
The percutaneous penetration of benzoyl peroxide in the skin is low and the drug
substance is completely metabolised into benzoic acid which is rapidly eliminated.
Therefore, the potential interaction of benzoic acid with systemic medicinal products
is unlikely to occur.
Fertility, pregnancy and lactation
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel should be given to women of childbearing potential only if
highly effective contraception is used during treatment and for 1 month after
discontinuation of treatment.
There are no or limited amount of data from the use of adapalene in pregnant women.
Studies in animals by the oral route have shown reproductive toxicity at high
systemic exposure (see section 5.3).
Clinical experience with locally applied adapalene and benzoyl peroxide in pregnancy
is limited but the few available data do not indicate harmful effects in patients
exposed in early pregnancy.
Due to the limited available data and because a weak cutaneous passage of adapalene
is possible, Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel should not be used during pregnancy or in
women of childbearing potential not using a birth-control method.
In case of unexpected pregnancy, treatment should be discontinued.
No study on animal or human milk transfer was conducted after cutaneous application
of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel. Available pharmacokinetic data in rats have shown
excretion of adapalene in milk after oral or intravenous administration of adapalene.
A risk to the suckling child cannot be excluded.
A decision must be made whether to discontinue breast-feeding or to
discontinue/abstain from Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% Gel therapy weighting the benefit of
breast-feeding for the child and the benefit of therapy for the woman.
To avoid contact exposure of the infant, application of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel to the
chest should be avoided when used during breast-feeding.
No human fertility studies were conducted with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel.
However, no effects of adapalene or benzoyl peroxide on fertility were found in rats
in reproductive studies
Effects on ability to drive and use machines
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel has no or negligible effects on the ability to drive and use
Summary of safety profile
Approximately 10% of patients can be expected to experience adverse skin reactions.
Treatment-related adverse reactions typically associated with use of Epiduo 0.3% /
2.5% gel include mild to moderate application site reactions, such as skin irritation
mainly characterized by scaling, dryness, erythema, and burning/stinging.
Recommendation is to use moisturiser, temporarily reduce the application frequency
to every other day, or temporarily discontinue its use until once daily schedule can be
These reactions usually occur early in the treatment, and tend to gradually lessen over
Tabulated summary of adverse reactions
The adverse reactions are classified by System Organ Class and frequency, using the
following convention: very common (≥ 1/10), common (≥1/100 to <1/10), uncommon
(≥1/1,000 to 1<100), rare (≥1/10,000 to <1/1,000), very rare (<1/10,000), not known
(cannot be estimated from the available data) and were reported with Epiduo 0.3% /
2.5% gel in vehicle-controlled Phase 3 clinical study (see Table 1).
Table 1: Adverse reactions
System Organ Class
Erythema of eyelid
Nervous system disorders
Paresthesia (tingling at application site)
Respiratory, thoracic and
Skin and subcutaneous tissue
Atopic dermatitis, eczema, skin burning
sensation, skin irritation
Dry skin, pruritus, rash
Allergic contact dermatitis, swelling face,
pain of skin (stinging pain) and blisters
*Post-marketing surveillance data reported since the global launch of Epiduo 0.1%/2.5% gel,
from a population of unknown size
Skin-related adverse events were more frequent with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel than
Epiduo gel (Adapalene 0.1% / Benzoyl peroxide 2.5%) as compared to vehicle. In the
pivotal study (see section 5.1), 9.2% of subjects in the combined population treated
with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel had skin-related adverse events and 3.7% in the
population treated with Epiduo gel compared to Vehicle Gel group (2.9%).
In addition to some of the above, other adverse drug reactions were reported with
Epiduo gel (Adapalene 0.1% / Benzoyl peroxide 2.5%), the previously approved
fixed combination of adapalene and benzoyl peroxide:
Other adverse drug reactions reported in clinical trials with Epiduo gel are irritative
contact dermatitis (common) and sunburn (uncommon).
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is
important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal
product. Healthcare professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions
via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel is for once-daily cutaneous use only. Excessive application of
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel may result in severe irritation. In this event, discontinue use
and wait until the skin has recovered.
In case of accidental ingestion, appropriate symptomatic measures should be taken.
Pharmacotherapeutic group: Anti-acne preparations for topical use, ATC code:
Mechanism of action and pharmacodynamic effects
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel combines two active substances, which act through different,
but complementary, mechanisms of action.
Adapalene: Adapalene is a chemically stable, naphthoic acid derivative with
retinoid-like activity. Biochemical and pharmacological profile studies have
demonstrated that adapalene acts in the pathology of Acne vulgaris: it is a
potent modulator of cellular differentiation and keratinisation and it has
anti-inflammatory properties. Mechanistically, adapalene binds to specific
retinoic acid nuclear receptors. Current evidence suggests that topical
adapalene normalizes the differentiation of follicular epithelial cells resulting
in decreased microcomedone formation. Adapalene inhibits the chemotactic
(directional) and chemokinetic (random) responses of human
polymorphonuclear leucocytes in in vitro assay models; it also inhibits the
metabolism of arachidonic acid to inflammatory mediators. In vitro studies
have shown inhibition of the AP-1 factors and the inhibition of the expression
of toll like receptors 2. This profile suggests that the cell mediated
inflammatory component of acne is reduced by adapalene.
Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide has been shown to have antimicrobial
activity; particularly against Propionibacterium acnes, which is abnormally
present in the acne-affected pilosebaceous unit. The mechanism of action of
Benzoyl peroxide has been explained by its highly lipophilic activity,
enabling its penetration through the epidermis into bacterial and keratinocyte
cell membranes of the pilosebaceous unit. Benzoyl peroxide is recognized as
a very effective broad-spectrum antibacterial agent in the treatment of acne
vulgaris. It has been demonstrated to exert bactericidal effect by generating
free radicals that oxidize proteins and other essential cellular components in
the bacterium wall. The minimum inhibitory concentration of benzoyl
peroxide is bactericidal and has demonstrated effectiveness on
antibiotic-sensitive and antibiotic-resistant P. acnes strains. Additionally
benzoyl peroxide has demonstrated exfoliative and keratolytic activities.
Clinical efficacy and safety
The safety and efficacy of Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel applied once daily for the
treatment of acne vulgaris were assessed in a 12 week, multicenter, randomised,
double-blind, controlled clinical study, comparing Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel to the gel
vehicle in 503 acne patients. In this study, 217 patients were treated with Epiduo
0.3% / 2.5% gel, 217 patients with adapalene 0.1% / benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel and
69 patients with the Vehicle gel.
The efficacy criteria were:
Success rate, defined as the percent of subjects who were rated ‘Clear’ or
‘Almost Clear’ at Week 12 with at least a two-grade improvement based on
the Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA). An IGA score of ‘Clear’
corresponded to clear skin with no inflammatory or non-inflammatory
lesions. An IGA score of ‘Almost Clear’ corresponded to a few scattered
comedones and a few small papules.
Mean absolute change from baseline at Week 12 in both inflammatory and
non-inflammatory lesion counts.
At Baseline, 50% of enrolled patients had acne severity assessed as “moderate”
(IGA=3) and 50% had scores of “severe” (IGA=4). In the overall study population,
up to two nodules were allowed. For lesion counts, subjects had an average of 98 total
lesions (range: 51-226), of which the mean number of inflammatory lesions was 38
(range: 20-99) and the mean number of non-inflammatory lesions was 60 (range: 30149). The age of the patients ranged from 12 to 57 years (mean age: 19.6 years), with
273 (54.3%) patients 12 to 17 years of age. A similar number of males (47.7%) and
females (52.3%) were enrolled.
In this pivotal study, 55.2% of patients in the severe stratum had truncal acne. The
patients treated the face and other acne affected areas on the trunk as needed once
daily in the evening.
Statistical analyses were performed to compare and interpret study results in a
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel versus Vehicle gel in the overall population of
patients with moderate and severe acne (IGA=3 and IGA=4).
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel versus Vehicle gel in the subgroup of patients with
severe acne (IGA=4).
The efficacy results are shown in Table 2 for the combined moderate and severe acne
Table 2: Clinical efficacy in the overall population: patients with moderate and
severe acne vulgaris at Week 12 (combined IGA = 3 and 4, MI, ITT population)
Epiduo 0.3% /
2.5% Gel (N=217)
Adapalene 0.1% /
(N = 217) a
IGA “clear” or
MI= Multiple Imputation; ITT= Intent-to-treat
a) This study was not designed or powered to compare formally the efficacy of
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% to the lower strength Adapalene 0.1% / Benzoyl peroxide 2.5% ,
nor to compare the lower strength Adapalene 0.1% / Benzoyl peroxide 2.5% to the
b) p<0.001 vs Vehicle
Results of primary efficacy analyses in the severe acne population are shown in Table
Table 3: Clinical efficacy in patients with severe acne vulgaris (IGA = 4, MI, ITT
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5%
(N = 112)
IGA “clear” or
MI= Multiple Imputation; ITT= Intent-to-treat
a) p=0.029 vs Vehicle
b) p<0.001 vs Vehicle
Adapalene 0.1% / benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel was included in this trial as a reference
therapy. In subjects graded as “moderate” (IGA Grade 3), Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel
showed no efficacy advantage compared with the reference therapy. In the analysis in
subjects graded as “severe” (IGA Grade 4), Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel achieved a
greater efficacy over vehicle with a treatment difference of 20.1% (31.9% vs 11.8%;
95% CI: [6.0%, 34.2%)], p=0.029), whereas the reference therapy did not (treatment
difference vs vehicle of 8.8%).
A pharmacokinetic study was conducted with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel in 26 adult and
adolescent subjects (12 to 33 years of age) with severe acne vulgaris. The subjects
were treated with once-daily applications on all potentially affected areas during a
4 week period with, on average, 2.3 grams/day (range: 1.6-3.1 grams/day) of Epiduo
0.3% / 2.5% gel applied as a thin layer to the face, shoulders, upper chest and upper
back. After 4 weeks of treatment, 16 subjects (62%) had quantifiable adapalene
plasma concentrations above the limit of quantification (LOQ of 0.1 ng/mL), with a
mean Cmax of 0.16 ± 0.08 ng/mL and a mean AUC0-24h of 2.49 ± 1.21 ng.h/mL. The
most exposed subject had adapalene Cmax and AUC0-24h values of 0.35 ng/mL and
6.41 ng.h/mL, respectively.
Pharmacokinetics studies conducted with both Epiduo and Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% Gels
have evidenced that the transdermal absorption of adapalene is not affected benzoyl
The percutaneous penetration of benzoyl peroxide is low; when applied on the skin, it
is completely converted into benzoic acid which is rapidly eliminated.
Preclinical safety data
Preclinical data reveal no special hazard for humans based on conventional studies of
safety pharmacology, repeated dose toxicity, genotoxicity, phototoxicity or
Reproductive toxicology studies with adapalene have been performed by the oral and
dermal routes of administration in the rat and rabbit. A teratogenic effect has been
demonstrated at high systemic exposures (oral doses from 25 mg/kg/day). At lower
exposures (dermal dose of 6 mg/kg/day), changes in the numbers of ribs or vertebrae
Animal studies performed with Epiduo or with Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel include local
tolerance studies and dermal repeat-dose toxicity studies in rat, dog and/or minipig up
to 13 weeks and demonstrated local irritation and a potential for sensitisation, as
expected for a combination containing benzoyl peroxide. Systemic exposure to
adapalene following repeat dermal application of the fixed combination in animals is
very low, consistent with clinical pharmacokinetic data. Benzoyl peroxide is rapidly
and completely converted to benzoic acid in the skin and after absorption is
eliminated in the urine, with limited systemic exposure.
List of excipients
Propylene glycol (E1520)
Simulgel 600PHA (copolymer of acrylamide and sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate,
isohexadecane, polysorbate 80, sorbitan oleate)
After first opening: 3 months.
Special precautions for storage
Do not store above 25°C.
Nature and contents of container
Epiduo 0.3% / 2.5% gel is supplied in two types of containers:
2 g and 5 g plastic tubes having a high density polyethylene body structure with a
high density polyethylene head, closed with a polypropylene screw-cap.
Multidose container with airless pump:
15 g, 30 g, 45 g and 60 g multidose container with airless pump and snap on cap,
made of polypropylene and high density polyethylene or
polypropylene, high density polyethylene and very low density polyethylene.
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
Special precautions for disposal
No special requirements.
Any unused medicinal product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance
with local requirements.
MARKETING AUTHORISATION HOLDER
Galderma (UK) Limited
69-71 Clarendon Road
MARKETING AUTHORISATION NUMBER(S)
DATE OF FIRST AUTHORISATION/RENEWAL OF THE
DATE OF REVISION OF THE TEXT
Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
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