Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Common acne medication doubles risk of eye infection, study suggests

Date:
May 23, 2012
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Acne patients who take oral medications like Accutane double their risk of developing an eye infection compared to those who do not, new research suggests. Researchers say that the use of inexpensive artificial tears or eyedrops, which are available over-the-counter at the local pharmacy, can minimize the risk.

Millions of teenagers suffer from acne, and they deal with the embarrassing skin blemishes by taking popular prescription medications such as Accutane or Roaccutane. Now, however, research from Tel Aviv University shows that these pills can also cause eye infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or sties.

According to Dr. Gabriel Chodick of TAU's School of Public Health at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, clinicians have long theorized a connection between acne and eye infections, but there was little available statistical research on the subject. "Acne itself can increase the risk of ocular diseases," he explains. "There is a greater tendency towards inflammation, and sometimes this leads to irritation." His research revealed that patients who took these oral medications doubled the risk of developing an eye infection, compared to acne sufferers who did not.

Published in Archives of Dermatology, the work was done in collaboration with Drs. Meira Neudorfer, Orna Shamai-Lubovitz and Varda Shalev from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Inbal Goldshtein from Maccabi Health Care Services.

Drying those tears

The researchers looked at records of almost 15,000 adolescents from the Maccabi Health Care Services database, one of Israel's largest health funds. They were divided into three groups: those who were acne-free; those who had acne but did not take oral medication; and those who had acne and were prescribed a medication such as Accutane or Roaccutane.

Out of the 15,000 subjects, 1,791 people developed inflammatory ocular diseases, including 991 in the medicated group, 446 in the acne group, and 354 in the acne-free group. The most common infection was conjunctivitis, commonly called pink eye. Four percent of patients who were on acne medication contracted pink eye, compared to 2 percent for the normal population.

"A very common side effect of Accutane and Roaccutane is dryness of skin and lips, so it's only natural that these medications would also effect the lubrication of the eyelids -- specifically the oil glands along the rim of the eyelid," explains Dr. Chodick. Tears are crucial because they lubricate the surface of the eye and they wash away debris, including bacteria and viruses, that can lie on the eye or its lid. Infection of the gland itself can lead to sties, and more serious bacterial infections might lead to the swelling of the entire eyelid.

A simple solution

Though not a serious medical condition, acne is still worth treating, says Dr. Chodick. But dermatologists and patients should be aware of these side effects, because there is the potential for long-term damage. According to some studies, including one published in Clinical and Experimental Optometry, irritation and eye rubbing can lead to structural eye problems such as keratoconus, a degeneration of the cornea.

Dr. Chodick advises that patients on oral acne medication ask their doctors how to minimize eye damage. One simple step is to use artificial tears, or eye drops, to keep the eyes lubricated. Local pharmacies can offer several inexpensive over-the-counter options, he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Inbal Goldshtein. Ocular Adverse Effects of Systemic Treatment With Isotretinoin. Archives of Dermatology, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1001/archdermatol.2012.352

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Common acne medication doubles risk of eye infection, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523115055.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2012, May 23). Common acne medication doubles risk of eye infection, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523115055.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Common acne medication doubles risk of eye infection, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120523115055.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins