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Drug-resistant Bacteria Shifting the Treatment of Acne

Posted: April 17, 2009

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When the antibiotics stop working for a patient, the results are devastating. In most cases of drug resistance, the antibiotics initially work, and patients think their skin has finally cleared, maybe for good this time. Then, all of a sudden the acne comes back — in some cases, worse than ever before.

When antibiotics fail

About six months ago, 16-year-old Chris Fields started taking 500 mg of tetracycline once a day, every morning. A month later, his skin cleared and stayed that way for two months. He started to remember what it was like to look people in the face without privately agonizing that they were scrutinizing his.

“I had more self-confidence and stuff,” says Chris, a high-school sophomore who lives in Concrete, Washington. “When I’d go out in public, I’d actually look people in the eye, and not be so worried about how my face looks. Right now, that’s starting to slip away again.”

That’s because a few weeks ago, his acne started to come back. He’s not sure if it’s worse than it was before, or if he’s just imagining that it is, but either way, its presence couldn’t be more unwelcome: Prom is less than three weeks away.