A recent MSNBC piece, "Super acne? Drug-resistant zits on the rise," quotes several dermatologists as saying that Propionibacterium acnes is not as easily cowed by the drugs tetracycline and erythromycin as it once was.
The story states: "As antibiotic-resistant acne becomes a growing concern, dermatologists are moving away from using antibiotics as a primary weapon against acne, fearing that the long-held go-to treatments may be contributing to communal antibiotic resistance. If they do prescribe antibiotics, it may be for only a limited time, usually a few months, and it's often combined with another medication that can lessen the drug resistance. Previously, patients might have continued on antibiotics for years."
The piece goes on to point out that the bigger, more serious issue is one of antibiotic resistance in general.
Here's an earlier warning from WebMD: "Drug-resistant acne: All in the family; antibiotic-resistant acne germ can spread within families."
Another one from NPR: "Doubts raised over antibiotic use for acne."
And still an earlier one from the British Journal of Dermatology: "Antibiotic-resistant acne: lessons from Europe."
-- Tami Dennis
Photo: Take care of your skin. Antibiotics may become less useful in that respect. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times