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Written for dermatologists by dermatologists. Indexed by the US National Library of Medicine.
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Acne Treatment: Side Effects Of Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapies are always being developed to minimize side effects, however, there are some that your patient should be aware of if using for acne treatment.

Common Side Effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cylical weight gain
  • Bloating
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches

Rare Side Effects:

  • Blood clots
  • Thromboembolism
  • Stroke
  • Retinal artery thrombosis
  • Heart attacks
  • Benign liver tumors
  • Gallstones
  • An increase in blood pressure
  • A link with breast cancer remains controversial
  • Failure of birth control

Women Should Not Take Hormone Therapy If They Have Any Of These Conditions:

  • History of coronary heart disease
  • Very high cholesterol
  • History of blood clots or stroke
  • Late renal failure
  • Jaundice
  • Symptomatic heart valve disease
  • Breast cancer or other estrogen dependent cancer
  • Smokers

Possible Drug Interactions:

  • Antibiotics may interact, for example, ampicillin, tetracycline, erythromycin, cotrimoxazole
  • Nitrofuratoin (Possible interactions with this drug are still controversial)
  • Rifampicin has definite effects on estrogen levels
  • Antiepileptic drugs for example, phenytoin, phenobarbital
  • Diarrhea or laxatives may reduce absorption of OCs

Suggestions For Breakthrough Bleeding While On The Hormone Therapy:

If your patient experiences bleeding early in the cycle, they should switch to a pill with higher estrogen. For mid or late-cycle bleeding, switch to a lower estrogen or higher progestin pill.