Isotretinoin data provide postmeal absorption guidance



This story appears courtesy of MDedge News



LAHAINA, HAWAII – Recent data on the lidose formulation of isotretinoin indicate that, when taken without food, beneficial results of treatment in patients with acne still can be expected, Hilary E. Baldwin, MD, said at the Hawaii Dermatology Seminar provided by Global Academy for Medical Education/Skin Disease Education Foundation.

It is recommended that isotretinoin, which is fat-soluble, be taken with food, preferably high-fat foods. So it has been unclear what the effect would be when taken with lower-fat food, such as low-fat cereal and raspberries, for example, Dr. Baldwin, medical director of the Acne Treatment and Research Center in New York, pointed out.

“We’ve been trying for years to figure out how we’re going to get around this,” and there have not been any relevant data available until recently, other than in the setting of taking isotretinoin on an empty stomach or with a high-fat meal, she commented.

She referred to a open-label, single-dose, randomized crossover study that compared the bioavailability of the lidose formulation of isotretinoin (Absorica) and brand name Accutane, at a dose of 40 mg either on top of a fatty meal (the Food and Drug Administration-stipulated high-fat, high-calorie diet) or after a 10-hour fast; 60 patients did all four arms, with a 21-day washout period between them (J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 Nov;69[5]:762-7).

In the fed state, both isotretinoin formulations were absorbed to the same extent, “but in the fasting state, there was a considerable difference,” Dr. Baldwin said. Absorption of both dropped in the fasting state, but the drop was more extreme with Accutane, “about a 50% difference between the two, in terms of how much drug was getting into the system,” she noted.

That is important because weight-based dosing is considered with isotretinoin, so at the end of treatment, a patient who has been taking it on an empty stomach may be getting a 60% lower dose than prescribed, “which could lead to a lessening of the effectiveness of the drug and also an increase in relapse over time.”

But how would a low-fat meal, like low-fat cereal and raspberries, affect the absorption, and ultimate efficacy?

This question was addressed in an open-label, single-arm study of 163 patients with acne, who were taking the lidose isotretinoin formulation without food, at the standard dose, for no longer than 20 weeks. Whether they relapsed was evaluated in a 2-year observational phase of the study, Dr. Baldwin said.

At the end of the trial, the drug was considered effective, with improvements in IGA (the 5-point Investigator’s Global Assessment scale). But the change from baseline was maintained at the 2-year posttreatment period, so the benefits of treatment lasted, which indicates that patients can take it “on top of absolutely no food whatsoever ... so if they eat anything, we are headed in the right direction,” including a low-fat meal. During the 2-year period, most patients did not need to be retreated. Of those people who needed treatment, only 4.2% needed treatment with isotretinoin, which is better than the historical relapse rates with isotretinoin, she noted.

Dr. Baldwin’s disclosures included being on the speakers’ bureau, serving as an advisor, and/or an investigator for companies that include Almirall, BioPharmx, Foamix, Galderma, Ortho Dermatologics, Sun Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, and La Roche–Posay.

SDEF/Global Academy for Medical Education and this news organization are owned by the same parent company.

By Elizabeth Mechcatie
[email protected]