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Study Lets Teens Sound Off on Acne Therapies

Most would pay hundreds of dollars to get rid of the problem

MONDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- American teens would be willing to pay a lot of money to be acne-free, according to researchers who surveyed 266 high school students in San Francisco.

The study found the teens, on average, would pay about $275 to have never had acne. They also said they'd be willing to pay much more to be acne-free ($100) than they'd pay to have 50-percent clearance of their acne ($10) or to have clear skin with acne scars ($0).

The teens' parents were also surveyed and said they'd pay $250 for their child never to have had acne, $100 for them to be acne-free, $100 for 50-percent acne clearance, and $0 for clear skin with acne scars.

Teens with more severe acne said they'd be willing to trade more time/money to clear their acne than teens with less severe acne.

Acne affects almost all teens and can cause anxiety, depression, embarrassment, and social problems, according to background information in the study.

"Reducing the psychosocial impact of acne is considered one of the guiding principles for its clinical management, and it is important to measure and evaluate this impact," wrote Dr. Cynthia L Chen and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco.

"Knowledge of these patient preferences may help dermatologists balance clinical trial results with patients' expectations of therapy," the researchers wrote. "Randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trials have shown that three to four months of conventional acne therapy, including topical benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids and oral antibiotics, typically produces reductions in lesion counts in the 40 percent to 60 percent range."

"It has also been suggested that the incidence of scarring from facial acne approaches 95 percent. Thus, adolescents' marked preference for total clearance over partial (50 percent) clearance or clearance with scarring suggests that physicians must weigh high patient expectations against these clinical data," the team added.

The study was published in the August issue of the journal Archives of Dermatology. Corresponding author Dr. Lee T. Zane has participated on advisory boards for Connetics Corp., Stiefel Laboratories Inc., Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp., and QLT Inc., and now works for Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc.

These types of patient questionnaires can help improve patient care, Dr. Marta J. VanBeek, of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

More information

The American Academy of Dermatology has more about acne.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Aug. 18, 2008

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