Differin for acne now available over the counter

Differin Gel is now available without a prescription.

Differin was first approved to treat acne back in 1996 but you’ve needed a doctor’s prescription for it.  Now, the Food and Drug Administration has given its okay for it to be sold as an over the counter product. The gel can be used by people 12 years and older and is applied once a day.

“Millions of consumers, from adolescents to adults, suffer from acne,” says Dr. Lesley Furlong, a deputy director in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Now, consumers have access to a new safe and effective over-the-counter option.”

Differin Gel is the only OTC drug of its kind

Differin Gel 0.1% is a retinoid drug.   Retinoids are a form of Vitamin A and can unclog pores, allowing other medicated creams and gels to work better. They also reduce acne outbreaks by preventing dead cells from clogging pores. Retinoids are often prescribed as first-line therapies for acne of all levels of severity, either alone or in combination with other treatments. Differin Gel 0.1% is the first retinoid acne treatment to be made available over the counter.

Some 50 million Americans are affected by acne.  You probably had it as a teenager, when it’s most common, but it can appear later in life.

Even though a prescription is no longer needed to buy Differin Gel, the FDA cautions users to read its  label.  The FDA advises pregnant women, women who plan to become pregnant or those who are breast-feeding to speak with their doctor before using Differin Gel.  Some other retinoid drugs have been connected to birth defects.

It’s also recommended that users avoid getting sunburned.  According to the FDA, in the first few weeks of use, skin may become irritated.  Users should stop using the drug and talk to  a doctor if that irritation becomes severe, if there is no improvement in acne after three months of daily use or if symptoms of an allergic reaction appear.



About the Author

Ed Tobias
Ed Tobias brings more than four decades of reporting and news management experience to his work at FairfaxNews. Tobias managed news coverage for Associated Press Radio for over twenty years.  This included coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Princess Diana, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters and national election primaries, conventions and campaigns.  He was part of the team that built AP’s on-line video operation. Prior to joining AP, Tobias was News Director at all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C. He has won two Ohio State Awards for his reporting and producing and he led coverage that won an Edward R. Murrow Award.