Trimethoprim is an antibiotic that is normally prescribed for moderate to severe bacterial infections. The use of trimethoprim for acne is generally determined by a licensed medical dermatologist or doctor. If prescribed, it is best to first follow the recommended dosage and frequency as instructed by the doctor. A patient should also monitor the severity of any side effects and how his skin responds to the treatment within the first few months.
Doctors prescribe trimethoprim for acne when it does not respond to other antibiotics. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is a more potent antibiotic than doxycycline or tetracycline. Antibiotics are prescribed when treating acne due to their ability to reduce the amount of inflammation and acne causing bacteria in the skin. Trimethoprim and other prescription antibiotics are not recommended for treating mild acne or acne that responds well to benzoyl peroxide.
In some cases, using trimethoprim for acne may be prescribed as a substitute for treatment with isotretinoin, which is strong, but somewhat risky. Depending upon the individual patient, topical tretinoin cream may be used alongside oral trimethoprim. The antibiotic is typically taken once or twice a day for at least a month. Some antibiotics must be taken with a meal to avoid stomach upset.
While using trimethoprim for acne it is important to not take more than the recommended dosage before consulting with a physician. One of the crucial aspects of using antibiotics as an acne treatment is to watch how the skin and body respond to the medicine. Visible improvements may take a few weeks to a month or slightly longer. Potential side effects, such as rashes and digestive problems, should be monitored closely.
If visible improvements are not seen within a reasonable amount of time or the acne seems to get worse, trimethoprim may not be a suitable treatment. The effectiveness of acne treatments can vary between individuals and it can also vary at different stages in one person's lifetime. For example, doxycycline may clear up a patient's acne in his teens, while a second course may have no effect in his late twenties. Severe acne may not respond to antibiotics alone or a patient may develop a resistance to a certain type of antibiotic.
Using trimethoprim for acne may reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria in the skin, along with the severity of the skin's inflammation. The prescription will not stop the skin's hair follicles from becoming clogged or reduce the amount of oil the skin produces. While bacteria is one of the causes of acne, it is not the sole contributor, so antibiotic treatment may not offer complete relief from breakouts.