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What is Adapalene-Benzoyl Peroxide?


Adapalene-benzoyl peroxide is a topic gel used to help adults and teenagers over the age of 12 with the treatment of acne vulgaris. The two contents include adapalene, which is a retinoid, and benzoyl peroxide, which is an antibiotic and skin-peeling agent. The gel is sold under the brand name, Epiduo.

How does adapalene-benzoyl peroxide work?

Adapalene-benzoyl peroxide works in two ways, given the two main ingredients. Adapalene works by decreasing swelling and the growth of cells. Benzoyl peroxide is an antibiotic and skin-peeling agent that reduces acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Your acne may appear worse during the first few weeks of treatment. Do not change the quantity or number of times a day you apply the gel. Talk to a doctor if adverse reactions continue to happen.

What doses of adapalene-benzoyl peroxide are available?

Your dosage depends on your medical condition and your response to treatment. Epiduo is available as a topical gel consisting of adapalene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5%. Adapalene 0.3%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% is also available under the brand name Epiduo Forte.

How do you use adapalene-benzoyl peroxide?

Adapalene-benzoyl peroxide is for topical use only. This gel is not for ophthalmic, oral, or intravaginal use.

  • Use a cleanser or soap to wash your hands and face before use.

  • After washing, apply only a thin layer of adapalene/benzoyl peroxide gel to the affected areas on your face/neck truck. Talk to your doctor about specific face washes for you.

  • Be mindful to avoid lips, eyes, and mucous membranes.

  • Wash your hands after you're done. adapalene and benzoyl peroxide topical gel could bleach fabrics or hair.

What are the side effects of adapalene-benzoyl peroxide?

The most common side effects of adapalene-benzoyl peroxide in clinical trials compared to placebo include:

  • Hypersensitivity of any components in the formulation in adapalene and benzoyl peroxide topical gel, including

    • Skin rash

    • Hives

    • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

  • Skin irritation and contact dermatitis, including

    • Dryness

    • Erythema

    • Scaling

    • Stinging/burning

Note: the use of moisturizer could help with skin irritation, as well as less frequent use.

  • Photosensitivity

    • Sunburn

    • Blisters

    • Hyperpigmentation

    • Hypopigmentation

    • Pruritus

Note: Avoid direct exposure to sunlight, including sunlamps. Use sunscreen products to avoid the sun. See the precautions section for more information.

Talk to your doctor if any skin reactions occur or if side effects persist.

Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible adverse effects you experience while taking adapalene-benzoyl peroxide. You can report your adverse effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or

Adapalene-benzoyl peroxide drug interactions

When adapalene-benzoyl peroxide is taken with other prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements, it may change how they work or increase the frequency or severity of side effects. Some drug interactions with adapalene-benzoyl peroxide include:

  • Any other acne medications

  • Sulfur-containing products or salicylic acid

  • Topical antibiotics, such as erythromycin or clindamycin


Adapalene-benzoyl peroxide precautions

You should be sure that your healthcare provider is aware of all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have a large area of damaged or burned skin

  • Have any skin conditions such as eczema

  • Have any unusual or allergic reaction to any ingredient in adapalene and benzoyl peroxide, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives

  • Are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or are breast-feeding

Be mindful of the following:

  • Waxing any area that is being treated by Adapalene-Benzoyl Peroxide

  • Stay away from tanning beds, and wear protective clothing when possible.

Is there a generic available for adapalene-benzoyl peroxide?

Epiduo and Epiduo Forte are both available in a lower-cost generic.

How do you store adapalene-benzoyl peroxide?

  • Store at room temperature 68° to 77°F (20° to 25°C) away from heat and light. You may carry it for shorter periods at temperatures between 59° to 86°F (15° to 30°C).

  • Keep out of reach of children. 

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