What are the side effects of acne medications?

If your medication’s side effects are too irritating or intolerable for continued use, please discontinue use and contact your dermatologist through your Patient Account. Your dermatologist will work with you to create a new treatment plan. If you are experiencing a severe reaction to your medication, dial 911 and seek medical attention immediately.

Here is a list of the most common side effects associated with the common medications that are prescribed at Apostrophe.

Tretinoin Formula (tretinoin 0.025% to 0.1% and niacinamide)

The most common side effects of tretinoin are redness and peeling. This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication. A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Metronidazole Formula (metronidazole 1%  and 4% niacinamide)

Side effects of metronidazole include: redness, dryness, stinging, and burning at the application site. Headache and nausea may also occur. Rarely, metronidazole can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/lips/tongue/throat), dizziness, and trouble breathing.

Benzoyl Peroxide Formula (benzoyl peroxide 3.1%)

Common side effects of benzoyl peroxide include redness, irritation and peeling. Benzoyl peroxide can also cause bleaching of clothing/linens but not the skin. Rarely, benzoyl peroxide can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/lips/tongue/throat), feeling light-headed, and difficulty breathing. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.

Tretinoin + Clindamycin Formula (tretinoin 0.025% to 0.1% and clindamycin 1% and niacinamide 4%)

The most common side effects of this medication are redness, peeling, dryness, and irritation at application side. This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Rare side effects may include abdominal pain and diarrhea that is watery or bloody. Rarely, this medication can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/lips/tongue/throat), feeling light-headed, and difficulty breathing. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.

Clindamycin + Benzoyl Peroxide Formula (clindamycin 1% and benzoyl peroxide  3% and niacinamide 4%)

Common side effects of clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide are dryness, redness, stinging, and peeling. Rare side effects may include abdominal pain and diarrhea that is watery or bloody. Rarely, this medication can cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/lips/tongue/throat), feeling light-headed, and difficulty breathing. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.

Azelaic Acid Formula (azelaic acid 15% and niacinamide 4%)

Common side effects of azelaic acid include: dryness, itching, burning, or stinging at the site of application. Allergic reaction to this medication is rare. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/tongue/throat), dizziness and trouble breathing. This medication is safe to use if pregnant or nursing.

Clindamycin Formula (clindamycin 1% and niacinamide 4%)

Side effects of clindamycin include redness, dryness, stinging, irritation or oiliness, and peeling. Rare side effects include abdominal pain and diarrhea that is watery or bloody.Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/lips/tongue/throat), feeling light-headed, and difficulty breathing. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.

Doxycycline (doxycycline 20mg to 100mg oral pills)

The most common side effects of doxycycline are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. This medication will make you more sensitive to the sun. Doxycycline can become lodged in the esophagus if not taken with sufficient water where it can cause esophagitis and ulceration.  Allergic reaction to this medication is rare. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/tongue/throat), dizziness and trouble breathing. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.

Minocycline (minocycline 50mg to 100mg oral capsules)

Common side effects of minocycline include: upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness.  This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Allergic reaction to this medication is rare. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/tongue/throat), dizziness and trouble breathing. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.

Sulfamethoxazole-Trimethoprim (sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim 800 mg-160 mg oral tablets - generic form of bactrim)

Common side effects include: nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, tiredness, insomnia, painful/swollen tongue. Serious side effects may include: severe skin rash, bruising, itching, sore throat, jaundice. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication. If you have a sulfa allergy you should not use this medication.

Spironolactone (spironolactone 50mg to 100mg oral tablets)

Common side effects of spironolactone include: headache, dizziness, rash, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, menstrual irregularities, breast tenderness. Serious side effects may include: irregular heart rate, little/no urination, muscle pain/weakness. Allergic reaction to this medication is rare. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/tongue/throat), dizziness and trouble breathing. Spironolactone can cause severe birth defects. This medication should not be used by women or are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are at a high risk of pregnancy.

Ampicillin (ampicillin 500mg oral capsules)

Common side effects include: diarrhea, stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: hives, rash, itching, fever, shortness of breath, and anaphylaxis. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.

Cephalexin (cephalexin 250mg to 500mg oral capsules)

Side effects include: diarrhea, stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting. Allergic reaction to this medication is rare. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of face/tongue/throat), dizziness and trouble breathing. Women who are pregnant should not use this medication.