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Case study: Restarting Research: Participating in an Acne Study

After struggling with acne and being on antibiotics for many years Vicky, 23 from Leeds, decided to take part in research to help find a more suitable alternative for herself and other acne sufferers.

I joined the NIHR because I really believe in the importance of health and care research and I wanted to improve women and under-served communities’ participation in research.

Why did you take part in the SAFA trial?

I decided to take part in the SAFA trial because I was fed up with struggling with my acne. With the stress of the past year, my acne became considerably worse which made me feel even more stressed.

I had also been on topical treatment and antibiotics for many years and was becoming increasingly concerned about the issue of bacterial resistance. This is a global concern and antibiotic stewardship is being advocated at an international level. I was also keen to find a potential alternative treatment to antibiotics and was keen to contribute to a study that might help to reduce the exposure to antibiotics in acne.

I found out about the SAFA study through the Be Part of Research website. Before this, I was not aware that you could just find studies to take part in in your area so easily and that you do not need to be referred by a GP.

How did you find your research experience?

I was really impressed with the standard of care I received. I was able to get an appointment almost immediately and it was the first time that I was able to see a dermatologist about my acne.

The SAFA research team were highly informative and helpful, they explained exactly how the treatment worked and what to expect. I found participating really helpful as the research team also gave me a lot of advice about my acne too. 

It was explained to me that the study was double blinded, where I could be given a placebo drug, a fake drug, for the researchers to see the real impact of Spironolactone. However, I did not mind this because if I was unblinded at the end of the trial and was on the placebo drug, I can then be offered the actual drug (spironolactone) and this can be continued by my GP. 

The six weekly follow up appointments were also highly convenient, as some were conducted over a secure video call. 

On the study, I did find that the spironolactone was not working for my skin and I was able to come off the medication almost immediately and the SAFA research team were incredibly helpful in providing advice to help my skin. 

Are you interested in taking part in research?

Find out which research studies you can be involved in and how you can take part in research by visiting the Be Part of Research website.