Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
SAFA study

What is this acne research study about?

SAFA during Covid-19

The study is currently closed to recruitment owing to Covid-19. For women who would like to join the study, please keep looking at the social media updates on Twitter (@SafaAcne) and Instagram (safaclinicaltrial) where we will update you as things progress. We are hoping to reopen again in a few months. In the meantime, please let us know ( if you are interested in taking part in the trial once things have returned back to normal or if you have any questions or concerns

About this acne research study

Acne is a common condition and it can be very distressing. A range of acne treatments are available but many of the oral medications cannot be used long term and some have side effects.

We are completing an acne research study to find out whether spironolactone might offer an alternative treatment to help women with acne or spots.

Read the study information sheet at the bottom of this page for full details.

Evaluating spironolactone as an acne treatment

Spironolactone is widely used to help with high blood pressure and other conditions. The drug also lowers some of the hormones that cause the skin to make oil. In acne, the skin produces more oil than normal.

Some dermatologists have been using spironolactone 'off licence' to treat acne for many years, particularly in the US, but only small trials have been carried out to test its effectiveness.

SAFA study tablet
SAFA study tablet

Why we need new acne treatments

We think that spironolactone tablets could, for some women, replace antibiotics (taken by mouth) for acne. Currently, patients are often prescribed long courses of antibiotics. Growing antibiotic resistance presents a major global health concern. So, there is an urgent need to find alternative treatments.

Although some combined oral contraceptive pills are effective in treating acne, many are not licensed for this use. Some are also not suitable or well tolerated by patients. Dianette (co-cyprindiol) is licenced for use in acne. It can be very effective, but it is not recommened for long-term use due to safety concerns.

Many topical acne treatments are available (such as benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics and retinoids) but these are not always effective for persistent or more severe cases.

Helping UK acne research

The National Institute for Health Research (Department of Health) commissioned this acne research study (SAFA) to determine whether spironolactone would be a suitable alternative treatment for women with persistent moderate or severe acne.

If you are eligible and you decide to take part, you would be helping to research a potential new acne medication which could benefit many women in the future.

Please click on the Participant Information Leaflet below to read more.

Find out more about acne treatments in general.

Interested in taking part?

Find out what taking part in the study would involve

See if the study is suitable for you

Contact your nearest study centre

Participant Information Leaflet

Slideshow image
page 1 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 2 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 3 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 4 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 5 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 6 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 7 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 8 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 9 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet
Slideshow image
page 10 of 10 _Participant Information Leaflet

Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader
Privacy Settings