Acne is the single most common chronic skin disease worldwide, and 8 out of 10 people will have to deal with it at some point in their life. Acne is most common among teenagers, but adults in their twenties, even into their forties, can get acne.
Each year, US dermatologists register more than 5 million visits concerning acne. Of those who seek medical advice from a dermatologist, about 70% have moderate to severe acne. Acne is therefore a huge burden both on the patients and the health care society.
Serious impact on quality of life
While not a life-threatening condition, acne can be hard to manage, both physically and emotionally. Acne can lead to serious and permanent scarring, impact self esteem and lead to a greater risk of social anxiety and depression and result in low quality of life for the patients. Acne is graded as mild, moderate or severe and this classification guides the treatment options.
The lesions that characterize acne are comedones (non-inflammatory lesions), inflammatory papules and pustules. Features of more severe acne include nodules and cysts. Some patients will present with all types of lesions, but most will only show a combination of a few lesion types. The pathological features include hypercornification of the follicle with follicular plugging, increased sebum production, colonization of the follicle by the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes and inflammation. Follicular and perifollicular inflammation is thought to be related to the P. acnes infection. Severity of acne also seems to correlate with the intensity of sebum production.
High unmet medical need for patients with moderate to severe acne
The current mainstay of therapy are oral, systemic antibiotics, oral or topical retinoids and combinations. These treatment options have serious shortfalls and high risk of side effects, and there is a high unmet medical need for moderate and severe acne patients. Photodynamic therapy with Visonac®, having a direct effect on multiple key parameters involved in the pathogenesis of acne, and avoiding the risk of increased antibiotic resistance and providing a highly tolerable alternative to isotretinoin, has the potential to satisfy this unmet medical need.
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