Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not a once daily topical application of fixed-dose combination gel containing adapalene 0.1%-benzoyl peroxide (BPO) 2.5% (adapalene-BPO) is effective at treating mild to moderate acne.

STUDY DESIGN: Three multi-center double blind randomized control studies published in the English language between 2007-2013.

STUDY SOURCES: Three peer-reviewed RCTS were found using Pubmed. These studies compared the same fixed-dose combination gel adapalene-BPO against placebo vehicles. Two studies also compared to additional groups receiving monotherapies.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Outcomes measured were improvement of participant’s acne according to the Investigator’s Global Assessment of Acne Severity (IGS), percentage change in acne lesions from baseline to post treatment, safety and tolerability assessment scales, participants’ assessment of their acne improvement, and Children’s Dermatology Life Quality Index.

RESULTS: The fixed-dose combination gel of adapalene-BPO demonstrated significant differences with total lesion counts and treatment efficacy. It was significantly more effective than monotherapies or a placebo vehicle for the treatment of mild to moderate acne. Adverse events were similar to those experienced with the monotherapies and mainly consisted of dryness and erythema that primarily occurred early in the studies.

CONCLUSIONS: A once daily topical application of adapalene-BPO is effective at treating mild to moderate acne. Adapalene-BPO demonstrated superior efficacy, increased lesion count reduction, and a faster onset of action compared to monotherapies consisting of adapalene or benzoyl peroxide as well as a placebo vehicle.