A recent study published in the JAMA Dermatology journal shows that a significant percentage of patients following treatment for acne tend not to abide by them, especially if prescribed two or more different medications.

The study was done on 143 individuals that had various levels of medication prescribed for acne by dermatologists, with more than a quarter of them overall failing to acquire the prescribed medicine in full.

If those that had only one medication prescribed mostly acquired and took it as they were told, with only 9 percent failing to do so, the problem appeared in more serious cases where two or more different medications were prescribed. About 40 percent of those that were recommended two did not respect the dermatologist’s prescription, while in the case of those with three or more different medicines the treatment was not respected by 31 percent of acne sufferers.

“Non-adherence is a pervasive problem in all of medicine, particularly when treating chronic conditions such as acne. A previous study reported a 10 percent primary non-adherence rate for acne patients, so we were surprised that what we found was more than twice that” commented lead study author Dr. Steven Feldman, professor of dermatology at North Carolina’s Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

The study also showed that patients that were recommended pill based prescriptions were more likely to adhere to it than those recommended other types of treatment, such as lotions or creams. The causes for non-adherence in those that were prescribed multiple medications are mostly backed by financial reasons, with some of the products not being covered by health insurance, as most companies consider it a cosmetic issue rather than a medical condition.

According to acne-resource.org, about 60 million American citizens suffer from active acne, with rates being 85 percent in case of teenagers and 20 percent of adults. About a third all acne sufferers in the U.S. present more severe cases that threaten to leave them with longtime scars. Despite this, only few over ten percent of all of them seek help from dermatologists, with most either not doing anything or buying over-the-counter medication on their own from drug stores.

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