Efficacy and tolerability of three topical acne treatments by body mass index: post hoc analysis including overweight and obese patients

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



The Journal of dermatological treatment




BMI; Topical; acne; antibiotic; benzoyl peroxide; clindamycin phosphate; phase 3; retinoid; tazarotene; tretinoin


BACKGROUND: Acne prevalence may be higher in overweight/obese individuals, potentially due to hormonal, inflammatory, and/or dietary factors. However, the effects of body mass index (BMI) on topical acne treatments are largely unknown. METHODS: Post hoc analyses of changes in inflammatory/noninflammatory lesions and treatment success were conducted using phase 3 data: clindamycin phosphate/benzoyl peroxide (CP/BPO) 1.2%/3.75% gel (NCT01701024); tretinoin 0.05% lotion (NCT02965456 and NCT02932306; pooled); and tazarotene 0.045% lotion (NCT03168321 and NCT03168334; pooled). Data were analyzed by BMI subgroups: <25kg/m (underweight-to-normal), 25-<30kg/m (overweight), and ≥30kg/m (obese). RESULTS: Among participants analyzed (CP/BPO = 495; tretinoin = 1,636; tazarotene = 1,612), ∼20-25% were overweight and 15-20% were obese. At week 12, mean percent changes from baseline in inflammatory lesions were: CP/BPO (overweight: -63.2%, obese: -56.0%); tretinoin (-57.6%, -53.1%); tazarotene (-59.9%, -56.8%). Mean changes in noninflammatory lesions were: CP/BPO (-54.2%, -50.8%); tretinoin (-51.6%, -44.9%); tazarotene (-56.7%, -54.6%). Treatment success rates with active treatment ranged from 16.2% to 33.5% across BMI groups. CONCLUSIONS: CP/BPO 1.2%/3.75% gel, tretinoin 0.05% lotion, and tazarotene 0.045% lotion were all effective in reducing acne lesions by ≥45% in overweight/obese patients with moderate-to-severe acne, comparable to the underweight-to-normal group. Efficacy of these topical acne treatments is not greatly impacted by BMI and may be affected more by the formulation.