Eubee Baughn Koo, BS, Tyler Daniel Petersen, MA, and Alexandra Boer Kimball, MD, MPH, conducted a meta-analysis of the efficacy of antibiotics compared to oral contraceptive pills (OCP) for acne vulgaris in women. Their review was done in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses and Cochrane collaboration guidelines, and limitations included investigative treatment heterogeneity and publication bias.
The researchers examined 32 randomized controlled trials and found that compared to placebo, both antibiotics and OCPs resulted in a greater percent reduction in inflammatory, non-inflammatory and total lesions at three and six months. When the two modalities were compared to each other, antibiotics were superior to OCPs at three months but were equivalent to OCPs at six months. Researchers therefore concluded that OCPs may be a better alternative to antibiotics in the treatment of long-term acne in women.
The analysis was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, volume 71, issue 3, September 2014.