University of Nottingham

Spironolactone for Adult Female Acne (SAFA) Research study Published

Results from the SAFA study have been published in the British Medical Journal  

This study showed that spironolactone is an effective treatment for adult female acne 

Women taking spironolactone saw a significant improvement in their acne after 12 and 24 weeks compared to those on the placebo.  The study team recruited over 400 women, aged over 18, with acne that had persisted for more than 6 months and where oral antibiotics would have normally been the next treatment. Half were randomly allocated to take spironolactone, while the other half were given a placebo. The women were asked to complete questionnaires on their acne and quality of life relating to the condition at the start of the trial and then at 12 and 24 weeks into their treatment.

The results showed that a significantly higher proportion reported that they felt satisfied that their skin had been helped compared with those receiving placebo, and any side effects were uncommon and very minor. These results show that spironolactone could offer an alternative to antibiotics for many women with persistent acne to use alongside topical acne treatments.

A video explaining the study results is available: 

Full publication:

Congratulations to the team including Chief Investigators - Dr Miriam Santer and Dr Alison Layton, for completing this large study on female acne. 

This study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) and the design and development of the study was supported by the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network.

Posted on Thursday 1st June 2023

UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network

Applied Health Services Research (building 42)
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