New topical retinoid for acne

Aklief cream contains trifarotene, a selective retinoic acid receptor γ agonist.

A young man looks at his complexion in the mirror with a concerned expression.
Aklief (trifarotene) can be used to treat acne on both the face and trunk. | GETTY IMAGES

Aklief (trifarotene) is indicated for the cutaneous treatment of acne of the face and/or trunk in patients from 12 years of age, when many comedones, papules and pustules are present. 

As a selective retinoic acid receptor (RAR) γ agonist, trifarotene differs from existing first- and third-generation topical retinoids, which target both RARβ and RARγ.

Moderate acne

Two randomised, controlled, double-blind trials of identical design showed that trifarotene 'appears to be safe, effective, and well tolerated in treatment of both facial and truncal acne,' according to the investigators.

PERFECT 1 and PERFECT 2 evaluated the safety and efficacy of trifarotene in 2420 patients aged ≥9 years with moderate facial and truncal acne vulgaris. Participants applied trifarotene or vehicle cream once daily for 12 weeks.

The primary end points were rate of success on the face, as determined by the Investigator's Global Assessment (clear or almost clear and ≥2-grade improvement), and absolute change from baseline in inflammatory and noninflammatory counts from baseline to week 12. The secondary end points were rate of success on the trunk (clear or almost clear and ≥2-grade improvement) and absolute change in truncal inflammatory and noninflammatory counts from baseline to week 12.

In both studies, the results of all co-primary and co-secondary efficacy assessments at week 12 were statistically significant (p<0.001) in favour of trifarotene versus vehicle.

Local irritation related to trifarotene cream was transient and consistent with topical retinoid dermatitis; tolerability was better on the trunk than on the face. Symptoms included erythema, scaling, dryness, and stinging/burning, which were mostly mild to moderate.

To reduce the risk of skin reactions with Aklief, patients should be instructed to use a moisturiser from the start of treatment. Like other retinoids, Aklief is contraindicated in pregnancy and women planning a pregnancy. 

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