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September 1981

Topical Erythromycin vs Blank Vehicle in a Multiclinic Acne Study

Author Affiliations

From the Medical Research Division, Lilly Research Laboratory, Indianapolis.

Arch Dermatol. 1981;117(9):551-553. doi:10.1001/archderm.1981.01650090033020

• A stable solution of erythromycin was developed using a vehicle of ethanol, propylene glycol, and citric acid buffer. In a controlled, randomized, double-blind comparison, a 2% solution of erythromycin applied to moderately severe facial acne was found to be superior to the blank vehicle in reducing the number of inflamed papules. During a period of 12 weeks, such papules were reduced by 56% in the erythromycin group, compared with 33% in the blank vehicle group. In the erythromycin group, 62% of the subjects had a good or excellent response, compared with 27% of those in the blank vehicle group. Adverse effects were similar in type in both groups and included redness, scaling, dryness, oiliness, burning, itching, and irritation of the eyes. No allergic reactions or skin infections were encountered.

(Arch Dermatol 1981;117:551-553)