There are several safe and effective medications for the treatment of rosacea.
Your doctor will prescribe one or medications based on your symptoms and response to past treatments, as well as other factors.
Topical Medications for Rosacea
The following medications may be applied to the skin to control rosacea symptoms
Metronidazole (MetroGel®, Noritate®) is a topical antibiotic that is applied to the skin for the treatment for rosacea. Topical metronidazole reduces the papules and pustules, as well as redness (erythema) of rosacea.
It is unclear how metronidazole works in controlling rosacea symptoms, but is probably related to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects that reduce inflammation in the skin.
Azelaic acid (Azelex®, Finacea®) treats redness, bumps and pimples of mild to moderate rosacea.
Other Topical Medications for Rosacea
Other topical rosacea medications include clindamycin, erythromycin, and sulfacetamide and sulfur lotions (Clenia®, Plexion®)
Oral Medications for Rosacea
Anti-inflammatory Dose Doxycycline
Doxycycline is used most commonly as an antibiotic for the treatment of bacterial infections. However, doctors rely on its anti-inflammatory properties when prescribing it for rosacea. When prescribed for rosacea, doxycycline is usually prescribed in low doses of 40mg per day. This is referred to as an “anti-inflammatory” dose. This amount is below the standard antimicrobial dose of doxycycline that kills bacteria. The low dose reduces the risk of developing side effects associated with antibiotics and of developing bacterial resistance. Oracea® is the brand name of a form of doxycycline that has been formulated to provide anti-inflammatory effects when taken once a day.
Other oral antibiotics may be prescribed for the treatment of rosacea, including doxycycline (in higher doses), erythromycin, and tetracycline.
A combination of treatments may be recommended for optimal results. For instance, an oral medication, such as low-dose doxycycline, may be combined with a topical medication, such as metronidazole.
One or more of these medications may be prescribed for long-term use to keep rosacea symptoms under control.