Taking Antibiotics for Acne Increases Chances of Sore Throat

According to a study conducted in 2011, people who use oral antibiotics to treat acne are three times more at risk to get sore throats than those who don’t take it.  Researchers are now challenging possible patients to determine if an antibiotic treatment is worth the possible adverse effects that may results from it.  Originally, the study was conducted to see the results of long-term antibiotics on people and any possible negative reactions.  Acne suffers on oral antibiotics were chosen, as they often stay on these oral medications much longer than they were originally designed for and it is uncommon to find a patient who has been taking them for years.

The study found that 11% of people who take oral antibiotics for acne had visited a health care professional because of a sore throat; meanwhile, only 3% of those who were not on antibiotics or only used topical antibiotics had visited a doctor for sore throat.

The next step the researchers took was to see how many of these sore throats were related to bacteria.  Normally, 10% of all sore throats reported are linked to bacterial infection, while 90% is caused by viruses and other reasons.  In order to check for these bacterial infections, they looked for cases of strep, as it is the most common infection in the throat, accounting for 90% of all cases related to bacteria.  The researchers found that there was no difference in the amount of patients that suffered from strep when comparing those who were on antibiotics, compared to those who weren’t.  The findings were surprising as doctors are unsure why there is such a high increase in the amount of complaints for sore throat by those on antibiotics.  The original theory was that oral antibiotics would chance the bacteria composition in the throat and would result in a change in bacterial infections.  However, the study does not conclude that.  The concern of using antibiotics long-term for acne is the possibility for bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance, which would be a problem if a patient became sick, as it would limit the number of treatments available to them. In addition, the use of such medication long-term may be linked to liver damage, which is also a concern for doctors.  Nevertheless, topical treatments come with possible side effects that are often a nuisance to patients, such as dryness and irritation, making swallowing just a pill more appealing to some patients.  Therefore, educating the public of the possible risks involved, rather than removing it as a treatment option should be a main focus.