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  • Severe acne often causes deep, painful cysts on your face, back and chest, and requires treatment to improve your appearance and decrease your physical discomfort. While mild cases of acne often respond to topical creams and drugs, more severe forms of the condition often require oral medications.

    Identification

    Doctors often prescribe antibiotic medications for the treatment of severe acne in order to eliminate any bacteria contributing to the condition. Along with antibiotics, doctors often prescribe a strong medication known as isotretinoin.

    Function

    Antibiotic medications for severe acne work by preventing bacterial cells from producing substances necessary for reproduction or the production of energy, thereby causing the bacteria to die. Isotretinoin prevents the production of a substance known as sebum, which clogs pores and causes acne cysts.

    Types of Antibiotics

    Commonly prescribed antibiotics for severe acne include tetracycline, minocycline, doxycycline, limecycline, erythromycin, trimethoprim and cortrimoxasole, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society.

    Time Frame

    Because of dangers associated with prolonged usage of isotretinoin, doctors rarely prescribe the drug for longer than 15 to 20 weeks, reports the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The length of time doctors allow patients to take oral antibiotics for acne varies, but typically, they discontinue use once the acne cysts begin to shrink, reports the Mayo Clinic.

    Risks

    Oral antibiotics pose a risk for diarrhea and gastrointestinal discomfort, allergic reactions and vaginal fungal infections, cautions the New Zealand Dermatological Society. Isotretinoin risks include birth defects when used in pregnant women, depression, the onset of suicidal thinking, dry eyes, nosebleeds, muscle aches and decreased night vision, warns the Mayo Clinic.

    Source:

    Mayo Clinic: AcneTreatmenta

    New Zealand Dermatological Society: Antibiotics for acne

    U.S. National Library of Medicine DailyMed: ACCUTANE (isotretinoin) capsule, liquid filled

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