Background The duration of oral antibiotic acne therapy for adolescents compared with guidelines was recently investigated; however it was uncertain if duration of antibiotics for adult acne therapy differed. Objective This study aimed to evaluate duration of oral antibiotics for adult acne compared with guidelines and determine possible cost-savings. Methods This was a retrospective cohort study of MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database that incorporated claims data to determine duration and costs of antibiotic treatment among adults ages 21 years and older. Results Of 17,448 courses, 84.5% (14,737) aligned with duration guidelines, although 12,040 (69.0%) courses did not include concomitant topical retinoid therapy. Mean savings of $592.26 per person could result if prolonged courses met guidelines. Mean (median) costs of generic and branded formulations for the most frequent course duration (90-179 days) were $103.77 ($54.27) and $1421.61 ($1462.25), respectively. Limitations Actual patient prescription adherence is uncertain and database lacks information regarding acne severity, patient physical characteristics, and clinical outcomes. Conclusions The majority of oral antibiotic course durations follow guidelines, although topical retinoids are underused. Costs of antibiotic therapy were lower for shorter courses and those using generic medications; the cost-effectiveness of these modifications has not been investigated.
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