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Abstract

Background  Antibiotics have been used for more than 40 years against Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the most common agent of acne. Antibiotic resistance to this bacterium becomes a worldwide problem in recent years. No studies are available on antibiotic susceptibility patterns of P. acnes among Egyptian acne patients.

Objective  To determine antibiotic susceptibility patterns of P. acnes isolated from acne patients attending the Dermatology outpatient clinic of an Egyptian university hospital to the most commonly prescribed antibiotics and to determine the difference in relation to age of patients, disease duration and previous antibiotic therapy for acne.

Methods  Cutaneous samples were obtained from pustular acne lesions on the face of 115 patients, which were cultured in anaerobic media to demonstrate the presence of P. acnes. Antibiotic susceptibility tests of isolated P. acnes were then performed to clindamycin, erythromycin, azithromycin, oxytetracycline and doxycycline by disk diffusion method.

Results  Propionibacterium acnes was isolated from 98 patients. Eighty-nine isolates were susceptible to azithromycin, followed by doxycycline and oxytetracycline isolated from 82 and 72 patients respectively. Resistance of P. acnes to clindamycin was detected in 65 patients, followed by erythromycin in 48 patients. Comparing the antibiotic susceptibility patterns of P. acnes isolated from patients with and without previous antibiotic therapy for acne revealed statistically non-significant differences as regards any of the antibiotics tested except for clindamycin and erythromycin. Statistically non-significant differences existed between antibiotic susceptibility patterns of P. acnes to all tested antibiotics regarding age of patients (< or ≥20 years) and disease duration (< or ≥2 years).

Conclusion  Propionibacterium acnes in vitro susceptibility patterns differed among Egyptian patients to the commonly prescribed antibiotics with the highest to lowest resistance to clindamycin, erythromycin, oxytetracycline, doxycycline and azithromycin.