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Wessex led acne study exceeds recruitment target

young woman with acne pictured

A Wessex-led study looking at the effectiveness of a drug usually used to treat high blood pressure as a treatment for acne has exceeded its recruitment target.

Sponsored by the University of Southampton and funded by the NIHR, the study was run by 11 UK sites, including in Poole and Portsmouth within the Wessex region. Local sites contributed over 130 participants to the overall target.

In total, the SAFA study has recruited 398 women aged over 18 years old with persistent moderate to severe facial acne. Participants were split into two treatment groups, one receiving spironolactone and the other a placebo pill. 

Making sure that the trial could continue to run during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge achievement from everyone involved in SAFA. Trial manager, Susi Renz, said:

“When recruitment into non-COVID-19 studies paused at the beginning of the pandemic, we had to make changes to the trial design and processes, including the reduction of face-to-face visits, remote follow-ups, and posting study medication and questionnaires to participants.”

Following completion of recruitment, co-chief investigator of the SAFA trial, Dr Miriam Santer, said:

“We are delighted to have reached our target for participant recruitment to the SAFA trial. With this study we are aiming to find out if spironolactone can be a successful treatment for women with acne and hopefully improve treatment options for acne in the future.

“Our research teams are now working hard to complete all the participant visits and follow-ups, and we will then be analysing the data and looking at the results – it’s a very exciting time!

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to get in touch with the trial team to express their interest in this research study, and especially to all those who are now taking part.”

Results from the study are expected to be published in early 2022 and will be shared with participants, in peer-reviewed journals and online to maximise impact.