Background: Isotretinoin is very frequently the drug of choice for the management of severe recalcitrant nodular acne. Recently, a new micronized and more bioavailable formulation of isotretinoin has been developed that permits once-daily administration in lower doses than usually used with standard isotretinoin (Accutane), regardless of whether it is taken with or without food. Objective: Our purpose was to determine whether micronized isotretinoin and standard isotretinoin are clinically equivalent. Methods: In this multicenter, double-blind, double-dummy study, 600 patients with severe recalcitrant nodular acne were treated with either 0.4 mg/kg of micronized isotretinoin once daily without food (n = 300) or 1.0 mg/kg per day of standard isotretinoin in two divided doses with food (n = 300). Lesion counts were monitored over 20 weeks. Results: Both treatment groups in this well-controlled clinical trial experienced an equivalent reduction in the number of total nodules (facial plus truncal). In addition, an equivalent proportion of patients achieved 90% clearance of the total number of nodules. Both formulations had similar results for other efficacy variables. Conclusion: Once-daily use of the micronized and more bioavailable formulation of isotretinoin under fasted conditions is clinically equivalent to the standard twice-daily formulation under fed conditions in the treatment of severe recalcitrant nodular acne.
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