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Acneform eruptions

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Also known as folliculitis, an acneform reaction begins as facial erythema followed by papules (small bumps) and pustules (small pockets of pus) over the face and upper trunk. Unlike true acne, the pustules are sterile (they contain no bacteria).


Which drugs are responsible?

Actinomycin D is the most common cause. Other drugs may also cause folliculitis, particularly the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors such as gefitinib and cetuximab.


Management of acneform reactions

Oral tetracycline antibiotics (e.g. doxycycline) and topical antibiotics can help. Even though bacteria do not appear to be involved in the acneform eruptions, these antibiotics have an anti-inflammatory effect over and above their anti-bacterial properties. Topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide may also help.