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Papers of the Week

2019 Jun 01

J Drugs Dermatol



A Phase 2, Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Vehicle-Controlled Clinical Study to Compare the Safety and Efficacy of a Novel Tazarotene 0.045% Lotion and Tazarotene 0.1% Cream in the Treatment of Moderate-to-Severe Acne Vulgaris


Background: Tazarotene has been extensively studied in clinical trials and is widely used to treat acne vulgaris (acne). Irritation potential has limited its use.

Objective: To compare efficacy, safety, and tolerability of a novel formulation tazarotene 0.045% lotion based on polymeric emulsion technology, and tazarotene 0.1% cream in patients with moderate-to-severe acne.

Methods: A total of 210 patients, 12 years and older were randomized to receive tazarotene 0.045% lotion, tazarotene 0.1% cream, or respective vehicle in double-blind, randomized, vehicle-controlled, 12-week study evaluating safety and efficacy (inflammatory and noninflammatory lesion counts and using Evaluator Global Severity Scores [EGSS]). In addition, patients completed a patient satisfaction survey (PSS), and acne-specific quality of life (QoL) questionnaire. Safety and cutaneous tolerability were assessed throughout.

Results: A novel tazarotene 0.045% lotion demonstrated statistically significant superiority to vehicle in reducing inflammatory and noninflammatory lesion counts (P=.006 and P<.001) and clearly more effective in treatment success at week 12. In addition, at less than half the concentration, tazarotene 0.045% lotion was numerically more effective than tazarotene 0.1% cream. Mean percent reductions in inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions were 63.8% and 56.9%, compared with 60.0% and 54.1% with tazarotene 0.1% cream at week 12. Treatment success assessed by the investigator or patients’ self-assessment was also numerically greater with tazarotene 0.045% lotion. There were no significant differences in patient satisfaction or QoL between the two active treatments. Both were well-tolerated, however, there were more treatment-related adverse events with tazarotene 0.1% cream (5.6% versus 2.9%); most common being application site pain.

Limitations: This study was primarily designed to direct the phase 3 program and some of the results are post hoc analyses.

Conclusions: A novel tazarotene 0.045% lotion provides statistically significant greater efficacy than vehicle in terms of lesion reduction, and numerically better treatment success than tazarotene 0.1% cream; with a highly favorable safety and tolerability profile in moderate-to-severe acne patients.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2019;18(6):542-548.