Early Acne Improvements With Fixed-Dose Clindamycin Phosphate 1.2%/ Adapalene 0.15%/Benzoyl Peroxide 3.1% Gel: What to Expect in the First 4 Weeks of Treatment

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Julie Harper
Leon Kircik
Michael Gold
Adelaide Hebert
Jeffrey Sugarman
Lawrence Green
Linda Stein Gold
Hilary Baldwin
James Del Rosso
Eric Guenin


antibiotic, retinoid, antibacterial, antimicrobial, acne vulgaris, early, efficacy, safety, retinization, combination, fixed-dose, once daily, phase 3


Background: Treatments with fast and substantial acne clearance are highly desirable. While a three-pronged approach may increase treatment efficacy versus monotherapy or dual-combination therapy, it is unknown if triple-combination provides more rapid improvement. CAB gel—clindamycin phosphate (clin) 1.2%/adapalene 0.15%/benzoyl peroxide (BPO) 3.1%—is the first fixed-dose, triple-combination acne topical. Since rapid/substantial acne improvements and fewer side effects can increase adherence, the efficacy and safety of CAB in the first 4 weeks of treatment was evaluated.

Methods: In a phase 2 (N=741; NCT03170388) and two phase 3 (N=183; N=180; NCT04214639; NCT04214652), double-blind, 12-week studies, participants aged ≥9 years with moderate-to-severe acne were randomized to once-daily CAB or vehicle gel; the phase 2 study included 3 additional dyad arms: BPO/adapalene; clin/BPO; and clin/adapalene. Efficacy assessments included least-squares mean percent change from baseline in inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions. Cutaneous safety/ tolerability assessments were graded from 0=none to 3=severe. Post hoc analyses included percentages of participants with one-third and one-half acne lesion reductions.

Results: At week 4, CAB led to ~55% reductions from baseline in inflammatory acne lesions in the ph2 and pooled ph3 studies, significantly greater than vehicle (~40%) and its 3 dyads (ph2 range: 44.2-47.6%; P<0.05, all). The percentages of participants with one-third and one-half reductions of inflammatory lesions were significantly greater with CAB than vehicle and dyads (P<0.05, all). Similar trends were observed for noninflammatory lesions, though reductions were less pronounced. As expected for retinoids, transient increases from baseline to week 2 in scaling, erythema, itching, burning, and stinging were observed for CAB, BPO/adapalene, and clin/adapalene, with mean scores ≤0.6 (1=mild); no trends in dyspigmentation were observed. Mean scores for all cutaneous assessments were highest for BPO/adapalene, indicating that adding a third product in the fixed-dose CAB gel formulation did not worsen tolerability.

Conclusions: Acne lesion reductions were significantly greater with clin 1.2%/ adapalene 0.15%/BPO 3.1% gel versus its dyads and vehicle gel as early as week 4. More rapid efficacy with this first fixed-dose triple-combination acne product—coupled with its optimized formulation, once-daily dosing, and tolerability—may positively impact treatment adherence.

Funding: Ortho Dermatologics.


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