Novel Triple Threat Approach to Acne Beats Placebo


A topical fixed-dose combination of three approved acne treatments significantly improves moderate to severe acne with a strong safety profile.


  • The two multicenter studies included 363 individuals aged 9 years and older with moderate to severe acne from 30 centers, including 15 in North America.

  • Moderate to severe acne was defined as having 30 to 100 inflammatory lesions (papules, pustules, or nodules), 35 to 150 noninflammatory lesions (open or closed comedones), and at least two nodules.

  • Participants were randomly assigned to receive treatment with a combination gel containing clindamycin phosphate 1.2%, adapalene 0.15%, and benzoyl peroxide 3.1% (known as IDP-126) or a vehicle gel for once-daily application for 12 weeks.

  • Treatment success was defined as a reduction of at least two grades from baseline on the Evaluator’s Global Severity Score (EGSS) and lesion counts of clear (0) or almost clear (1) at weeks 2, 4, 8, and 12.


  • Treatment success occurred in 49.6% of the IDP-126 group, vs 24.9% of the vehicle group in study 1, and in 50.5% of the IDP-126 group, vs 20.5% of the vehicle group in study 2. Overall treatment compliance was 93.7% and 91.3% for studies 1 and 2, respectively (P < .01 for both).

  • Patients in the IDP-126 groups for both studies 1 and 2 had significantly greater absolute mean reductions in both inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions from baseline to week 12 compared to the vehicle patients (P ≤ .001 for all).

  • Significantly more patients in the IDP-126 group achieved a grade reduction of 2 or more in EGSS compared with those who received the vehicle, with treatment differences of approximately 32% in both studies. Changes in lesion reductions between the treatment and the vehicle groups were significantly greater as early as week 4.

  • The most common treatment-related adverse events among patients treated with IDP-126 were erythema, application-site pain, dryness, irritation, and exfoliation. Discontinuation of the study drug as a result of adverse events occurred in 2.5% and 3.3% of these patients in studies 1 and 2, respectively.


“With its simple treatment regimen containing 3 recommended acne treatments (benzoyl peroxide, a topical retinoid, and a topical antibiotic), IDP-126 is a potential new treatment option for acne,” the researchers concluded.


The study was led by Linda Stein Gold, MD, of Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit. The study was published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology on September 1, 2023.


In both studies, treatment duration was short, and the studies may not reflect patients’ real-world experiences. The results may be affected by interobserver bias or variation in assessment of acne severity.


Gold has served as investigator/consultant or speaker for Ortho Dermatologics, LEO Pharma, Dermavant, Incyte, Novartis, AbbVie, Pfizer, Sun Pharma, UCB, Arcutis, and Lilly. Other study co-authors have relationships with multiple companies, including Ortho Dermatologics, which provided medical writing support for the study.

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