If you have acne that's infected with bacteria, it can be tough to treat. Over-the-counter medications that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide--both mainstays of acne treatment--are not likely to curb badly infected acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. You may need a prescription antibiotic to help clear your skin. Although dermatologists don't use it often, in some cases Duricef may be the best choice to treat your acne.
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Acne, the most common skin condition in the United States, results when the skin makes too much oil, according to the Mayo Clinic. When your skin gets too oily, the extra oil can irritate and plug your pores. The excess oil also provides an ideal breeding ground for a specific type of bacteria, called Propionibacterium acnes. Once P. acnes gains a foothold in your skin, it creates infected pimples and additional inflammation.
Duricef, which contains the active ingredient cefadroxil, is part of the cephalosporin group of antibiotics. Physicians prescribe the drug to treat many infections caused by bacteria, including acne. However, physicians don't use Duricef often for acne--they tend to prefer erythromycin and tetracycline antibiotics. If you receive a prescription for Duricef for acne, you should take it exactly as prescribed, and continue to take it even if your skin begins to clear up.
Like all antibiotics, Duricef occasionally can cause a serious allergic reaction. Get emergency medical help if you experience difficulty breathing, hives or swelling of your throat and face while you're taking Duricef. Other side effects of Duricef may include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever and flu symptoms, seizures and yellowing of your skin and eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms while taking the medication, contact your doctor.
Because physicians prefer other antibiotics to treat acne, few studies have been conducted on Duricef for acne. However, one study that covered cefadroxil's effects on bacterial skin infections pointed out that patients may be more likely to continue their therapy with cefadroxil because they only need to take it once a day. This is more convenient for patients, which may lead to more of them finishing the treatment, said the study, published in the journal Clinical Therapy in 1985.
You may need more than one medication to get your infected acne under control. Many physicians prescribe benzoyl peroxide in conjunction with an oral antibiotic such as Duricef. The benzoyl peroxide dries your skin and helps the antibiotic kill the bacteria. In addition, your physician may start you with a higher dose of Duricef and then begin to taper off the medication once your acne begins to clear up.