Treatment of the depressed and dysmorphophobic acne patient


Dr S.Macdonald Hull, Department of Dermatology, The General Infirmary at Leeds, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK.


Sixteen patients with minimal facial acne but with symptoms of dysmorphophobia related to their acne were treated with isotretinoin, 0.5 mg/kg/day, (n= 5); 1 mg/kg/day (n= 11) for 16 weeks. All 16 had previously received long-term antibiotic therapy with no ‘perceived’ improvement in their acne. Formal psychiatric assessment was not possible through lack of cooperation.

Fourteen of 16 patients derived benefit from isotretinoin therapy in that all 14 were subsequently satisfied with the cosmetic results achieved. However, the incidence of relapse was greater than that for a control group, 14 requiring additional therapy in the form of antibiotics or further isotretinoin (seven patients) within 20 months of completing the original course. Patients with acne and dysmorphophobia represent an important group of patients who benefit from treatment with isotretinoin; if possible this should be in conjunction with psychotherapy.