Azelaic Acid for Rosacea Reviewed by Rosacea Expert

By Julie C. Harper, MD

Birmingham, Alabama 35243

Physician (MD, DO), Dermatology


Azelaic acid has been the focus of recent studies for the treatment of rosacea and the results have been encouraging, according to dermatologist Julie C. Harper, M.D.

In a story published in Internal Medicine News, “Studies Highlight Effectiveness of Azelaic Acid for Rosacea“, Dr. Harper described how 15% azelaic acid was shown to control the inflammatory response in normal human skin cells.

Dr. Julie Harper is Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and in private practice at the Dermatology and Skin Care Center of Birmingham. Her comments reported comments were made at the Las Vegas Dermatology Seminar sponsored by Skin Disease Education Foundation (SDEF).

Dr. Harper explained that how azelaic acid might exert its anti-inflammatory effects.

In one study of 72 patients, a 15% gel formulation of azelaic acid used once daily was shown to be as effective as the same formulation used twice daily. No significant difference was found between the once- and twice-daily groups. In another study of patients with mild to moderate rosacea, topical azelaic acid 15% gel plus 40 mg oral doxycycline (anti-inflammatory dose doxycycline) was shown at treatment week 6 to be associated with significantly greater improvement in mean inflammatory lesion count, compared with metronidazole 1% gel combined with oral doxycycline.

According to Dr. Julie Harper, “Azelaic acid is a commonly prescribed topical medication for the treatment of rosacea. These new developments give us insight into why this product works so well,” Dr. Harper noted. “We are also learning a great deal about the pathogenesis of rosacea and other skin diseases. The more we learn, the more efficiently and effectively we can treat these diseases.”