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Treatment of acne with oral isotretinoin in patients with cystic fibrosis
  1. E Perera1,
  2. J Massie2,
  3. R J Phillips3
  1. 1
    Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2
    Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3
    Department of Adolescent Medicine, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Dr R Phillips, Paediatric Skin Specialist, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia 3052; rod.phillips{at}


Background: Theoretical concerns about liver disease and vitamin A deficiency have limited the use of oral isotretinoin for troublesome acne in adolescents with cystic fibrosis.

Methods: Oral isotretinoin was administered to nine patients with cystic fibrosis who had troublesome acne unresponsive to antibiotics. All patients were followed for 1–4 years after cessation of treatment.

Results: Isotretinoin treatment cleared active acne lesions in all patients. It was well tolerated, and no patient had significant side effects. All nine patients were pleased or delighted with the improvement in their skin.

Conclusions: Adolescents with cystic fibrosis and acne can be treated with oral isotretinoin. Oral isotretinoin should be considered for adolescents with cystic fibrosis who have acne associated with scarring, acne not clearing with topical and antibiotic treatment, acne associated with depression or severe cystic acne.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Patient consent: Obtained from the parents.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by RCH Human Research Ethics Committee.