Brand name tretinoin cream is the best generic lotion for adult women with acne

September 02, 2022

2 minute read


Draelos reports receiving research funding from Ortho Dermatologics. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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A brand name tretinoin lotion with a polymer emulsion carrier was superior to a generic tretinoin cream in a number of acne outcomes, according to the study results.

“The brand name tretinoin lotion that was studied used a barrier-enhancing polymer emulsion carrier,” Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, of Dermatology Consulting Services, PLLC, told Healio. “Tretinoin is a retinoid and as such can induce retinoid dermatitis. This retinoid dermatitis is a barrier to compliance for patients who are prescribed tretinoin for treatment.

Acne 6

A brand name tretinoin lotion with a polymer emulsion carrier was superior to a generic tretinoin cream in a number of acne cases.

Draelos suggested that this compliance barrier can be overcome with the polymer emulsion due to reduced irritation and improved barrier function.

Zoe Diana Draelo

“It improves patient compliance and satisfaction with treatment with the new state-of-the-art vehicle,” she said. “Generic tretinoin damages the skin barrier. This research aimed to understand the merits of a polymer emulsion vehicle in the delivery of retinoids.

In the single-center, double-blind, split-face study, Draelos and colleagues compared the brand name 0.05% tretinoin lotion (Altreno, Ortho Dermatologics) to the generic formulation in 25 adult women with acne.

Participants were randomly assigned to apply the lotion and cream to opposite cheeks once a day for 2 weeks, depending on the results.

The results at the end of the treatment showed that the side of the face treated with the generic showed significantly more erythema (144%), desquamation (144%) and dryness (122%) than the side treated with the cream of mark (all, P

Skin smoothness, smoothness, radiance and luminosity were all 38% to 41% better for the branded product compared to the generic (all, P

When it comes to product use, the range of participants who found the brand cream soft, comfortable/soothing, spreadable, absorbent, non-sticky, or with minimal residue was 72% to 92%. In comparison, only 8% to 36% of participants felt these characteristics were superior for the generic product.

Similarly, skin sensations of softness, dryness and dullness were better for the branded product (>60% agreement) compared to the generic (40% agreement).

Overall, about 70% of patients said they preferred the brand name product over the cream.

These findings surprised Draelos and his colleagues.

“The blinded subject and investigator data were surprising,” Draelos said. “In dermatology, we traditionally think that the skin characteristics of the drug determine tolerance. In this research, we demonstrated that a well-constructed modern vehicle can overcome medication irritation and improve patient tolerance and acceptance.

With these findings in mind, it may be true that retinoid dermatitis can be made worse by a poorly constructed generic vehicle and improved by a name brand emulsion polymer vehicle, according to Draelos.

“These results demonstrate that retinoid dermatitis can be minimized by placing tretinoin in a polymer emulsion,” she said. “This improves patient tolerance and compliance, which ultimately results in a better clinical outcome.”

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