When it comes to acne-treatment innovation, Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew J. Elias describes the field as mainly the “same repurposing of medical and light/laser treatments for many years.”
But 2021 may mix that up—as there’s a new FDA-approved topical that comes with promises of hitting the market early this year: “Fortunately, we may be on the harbinger of new treatments led by Winlevi (clascoterone), which is an androgen receptor inhibitor and essentially affects the hormonal component of acne while being safe to use in both males and females,” he says.
Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman is also excited about the new treatment, which is in a cream form intended to be applied twice a day to the affected areas. “It will be the first acne treatment with a new mechanism of action in 40 years. This new medication offers a non-antibiotic approach to people with acne, by targeting the androgen receptors directly in the skin.”
As Dr. Haberman explains, it’s the targeting of androgen hormonal activity in the skin that will be a “game-changer” for fighting acne. “It is a first-in-class topical androgen receptor inhibitor that tackles the androgen hormone component in both males and females. Androgen receptor inhibitors act by limiting the effects of these hormones in acne on increasing sebum production and inflammation.”
While the exact date of when Winlevi will be available is not clear at this time, it is sure to be an anticipated solution for the 50 million Americans the skin condition affects, annually, and the brand is offering updates on its site regarding timing.
Updated on 12/13/2021
Now available for the topical treatment of acne, dermatologists are starting to prescribe Winlevi, and they’re excited to see how it performs. “Winlevi should be considered for those who have experienced side effects from spironolactone [a prescription oral medication] but haven’t had luck finding anything else to clear hormonal, monthly breakouts,” says Homewood, AL dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD. “This innovative prescription drug is offered as a cream that inhibits the effects of hormones on oil production and inflammation. Though acne is multifactorial, increased sebum production and an altered lipid composition are thought to promote inflammation.”
The medication has only been approved for a few weeks, so Dr. Hartman says he has had limited clinical experience as he did not participate in clinical trials. “However, I have not had any patients report any side effects in the past month and none of my patients have stopped the medication due to side effects, so this is very promising.” Southlake, TX dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD adds that she is also excited to have this topical treatment option available for her patients, as “it’s a first in class topical treatment to treat hormonal acne.”