Derm Topics

Clinical Trials and How to Run a Clinical Research Unit 

Participating in dermatology research can be a fulfilling part of a dermatologist’s career. So how can a dermatologist start participating in clinical trials? Next Steps in Derm, in partnership with ODAC Dermatology, Aesthetic & Surgical Conference, interviewed Dr. Leon Kircik, clinical professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine. Watch as Dr. Kircik shares the three pillars of a clinical research business. Find out why you should first look at your patient base before considering what you can study. Hear why Dr. Kircik says a clinical study coordinator is almost more important than your spouse. Plus find out the additional medical equipment needed for clinical research.


Further Reading

If you want to read some of Dr. Kircik’s latest clinical research studies, check out the following articles published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology:

Early and Sustained Acne Lesion Reductions With Fixed-Dose Clindamycin Phosphate 1.2%/Adapalene 0.15%/Benzoyl Peroxide 3.1% Gel


Background: A once-daily, three-pronged approach using an antibiotic, antibacterial, and retinoid may provide faster acne improvement versus monotherapy or dual-combination products. This post hoc analysis compared threshold acne lesion reductions with clindamycin phosphate 1.2%/adapalene 0.15%/benzoyl peroxide 3.1% (CAB) gel — the first FDA-approved triple-combination topical acne product — to its dyads and vehicle.

Methods: Phase 2 (N=741; NCT03170388) and phase 3 (N=183; N=180; NCT04214639; NCT04214652), double-blind, 12-week studies randomized participants aged ≥9 years with moderate-to-severe acne to once-daily CAB or vehicle gel; the phase 2 study included three additional dyad gel arms. The pooled percentage of participants achieving =>33%, =>50%, and =>75% reduction in inflammatory and noninflammatory acne lesions was evaluated.

Results: As early as week 4 in the phase 2 study, =>33% reduction in inflammatory lesions occurred in a significantly greater percentage of CAB gel-treated participants (82.7%) than with the 3 dyads and vehicle (61.1-69.8%; P<0.05, all). These early reductions were sustained throughout the study, with significantly (P<0.05) more CAB-treated participants achieving ≥50% reduction in inflammatory lesions versus dyads and vehicle from weeks 4-12. By week 12, CAB led to substantial reductions of =>75% in significantly more participants than dyads and vehicle (65.8% vs 49.9-51.2% and 21.6%; P<0.05, all). Similar trends were observed for noninflammatory lesions in the phase 2 study and for inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions in the phase 3 studies.

Conclusions: Lesion count reductions were significantly greater with CAB versus its dyads and vehicle gel as early as week 4, with substantial reductions observed after 12 weeks of treatment. This faster-acting and sustained efficacy of CAB gel — coupled with its optimized formulation, once-daily dosing, and tolerability — may positively impact treatment adherence.

Halobetasol Propionate 0.01% and Tazarotene 0.045% Lotion With a Ceramide-Containing Moisturizer in Adults With Psoriasis


Introduction: Moisturizers are often used as adjuvant therapy for psoriasis to assist with rehydration and skin barrier restoration. Fixed-combination halobetasol propionate 0.01% and tazarotene 0.045% lotion (HP/TAZ) is indicated for the topical treatment of plaque psoriasis in adults, with a demonstrated clinical profile in two phase 3 trials. However, the effect of application order with HP/TAZ has yet to be explored. This study evaluated the clinical profile of HP/TAZ applied before versus after a ceramide-containing moisturizer in adults with mild-to-moderate plaque psoriasis.

Methods: Sixteen participants were randomized to apply HP/TAZ followed by moisturizer on one side and moisturizer followed by HP/TAZ on the other side once daily for 12 weeks. Tolerability, safety, efficacy, and quality of life endpoints were assessed. 

Results: Significant Investigator’s Global Assessment improvement was observed across all time points (P≤0.003) regardless of application order. Total Dermatology Life Quality Index scores significantly improved at all time points (P≤0.003), and visual analog scale for itch significantly improved at weeks 4, 8, and 12 (P<0.008). Four moderate adverse events were experienced by 3 participants. Two participants reported itching/irritation, which was worse when HP/TAZ was applied first.

Conclusions: The application order of moisturizer did not decrease therapeutic efficacy of HP/TAZ. Moisturizer application before HP/TAZ may reduce incidence of application site adverse events, ultimately increasing tolerability and supporting the real-world recommendation that applying a ceramide-containing moisturizer before HP/TAZ, versus after, results in a safe and effective therapeutic option for plaque psoriasis.

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