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Steroids Used to Treat Acne Vulgaris: A Review of Efficacy, Safety, and Clinical Considerations.

Acne vulgaris is prevalent among adolescents and adults worldwide and can significantly impact patients' quality of life. Steroidal molecules, including oral and intralesional corticosteroids, combined oral contraceptives (COCs), oral spironolactone, and topical clascoterone, are an important part of the acne treatment armamentarium. The recommended use, mechanism of action, and available evidence supporting the use of steroids for acne treatment are reviewed, and differences in acne clinical presentation and treatment approaches based on patient characteristics relevant to the selection of an appropriate steroid are also discussed. Steroid-based approaches target the systemic or local hormones (ie, testosterone and androgens) and inflammation that contribute to acne pathogenesis. Oral corticosteroids are primarily used as a short-term adjunctive therapy early in treatment, whereas intralesional corticosteroid injections are used for individual acne lesions. COCs and oral spironolactone are limited to female patients who wish to avoid pregnancy. Topical clascoterone can be used by female and male patients 12 years of age and older. Patients' characteristics (including age and patients with darker skin color) and preferences for the route of administration can impact treatment response and adherence, respectively. Overall, healthcare providers must be aware of the differences among steroidal acne treatments and use shared decision-making to select the optimal therapy. J Drugs Dermatol. 2024;23(6):404-409.     doi:10.36849/JDD.7846.

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