Cheap high blood pressure drug could help clear up adult acne – new study

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Kelly Cornick, 39, had suffered from severe acne since her teenage years, claiming “nothing seemed to work”, until she tried the blood pressure medication spironolactone.

The mother-of-three said “nothing seemed to work” for her acne, adding: “It might go away for a while but then it would flare up again.”

Cornick, from Dorset, found her condition to be “embarrassing”, feeling as though people were staring at her.

“You almost feel that they’re looking at you like you’re dirty and don’t wash properly,” Cornick revealed.

“It used to get me down. I’m a confident person but my skin just took over how I felt a lot of the time.”

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Told by her dermatologist about a trial featuring spironolactone, Cornick felt she had nothing to lose.

Contacting the trial team at Poole Hospital, Cornick signed up for the experiment.

Cornick told BBC: “Initially I started on the lower dose and there was an improvement.

“I then went onto the higher dose and within about three months everything was gone, all the spots had disappeared.”

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Since the trial, Cornick has stayed on spironolactone and has been acne-free for more than two years.

Cornick said: “I hope that other people will now be given this treatment as an option.”

Now, more than 400 women have taken part in the trials led by researchers at the University of Southampton.

GP and co-lead of the trial, Professor Miriam Santer, commented on the success of the trial.

“The results showed that the women taking spironolactone saw a significant improvement in their acne after 12 and 24 weeks compared to those on the placebo,” said Dr Santer.


The NHS says spironolactone treats oedema (build-up of fluid), high blood pressure, and hormone conditions.

Some people might experience side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, and tiredness.

The study was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research.

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