The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications only as recommended by your doctor, and according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your doctor.
There are several prescription medications available to treat rosacea. They are used to control the redness and clear up bumps and pustules on your face. You may be given medication to apply to your skin (topical) and medication to take by mouth (oral). It may take a few weeks to see results. Once your symptoms have cleared, you may need to continue taking medication to keep rosacea under control. The type of medications used depend on the subtype of rosacea you have and the severity of symptoms.
Common names include: MetronidazoleClindamycinClindamycin and benzoyl peroxideSulfur and sodium sulfacetamide
Topical antibiotics are applied to your skin to help reduce the redness and pimples of papulopustular, phymatous, or ocular rosacea. You may have to use this medication for at several weeks before seeing improvement. Use cosmetics sparingly and make sure they are oil-free (noncomedogenic) to reduce irritation.
Possible side effects include: Dry skinRedness, stinging, and burning of the skinWatering of the eyes
Common names include: TetracyclineMinocyclineErythromycinDoxycyclineMetronidazole
If you have a more severe case of papulopustular, phymatous, or ocular rosacea, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic. Doxycycline, minocycline, and less commonly tetracycline, and erythromycin are often used to treat rosacea. Some people respond quickly, while others require long-term therapy.
Possible side effects include: Increased skin sensitivity to sunlightStomach cramps or burning sensationDiarrheaLightheadedness
Common names include: TretinoinBenzoyl peroxide
Tretinoin helps to treat papulopustular rosaeca by keeping skin pores clear. Benzoyl peroxide increases turnover of skin cells. By doing so, it helps keep pores cleaner which helps reduce the chance of infection. These medications should not be used with some other types of medication and skin products. Tretinoin should not be used during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before using benzoyl peroxide if you are pregnant.
Possible side effects include: Burning feeling or stinging skinLightening of the treated skinPeeling of skinRedness of skinUnusual dryness of skinSensitivity to sunlight
Isotretinoin is used to treat severe or therapy-resistant papulopustular or phymatous rosacea if other medications have failed to help. However, isotretinoin is linked to a number of adverse effects, some of which can be severe. The most serious potential adverse effect is that it can cause birth defects in pregnant women who take it.
Therefore, you should not be pregnant or get pregnant while taking isotretinoin.
If you are a woman of childbearing age, you must use an appropriate birth control method one month before the initiation of therapy, during the entire course of therapy, and until two months after stopping taking the drug. Your doctor will order a pregnancy test before therapy is started and every month during therapy. Also, you should not donate blood while taking this medication or for 30 days after you stop taking it, in the event that it could be donated to a pregnant woman.
Possible side effects include: Dryness of the mouth, nose, eyes, and skinHeadacheSensitivity to sunlightUpset stomachFatigueThinning of hairDepression
Cortisone creams can decrease inflammation in the skin. However, they can also cause the skin to become too thin, so they should be used for only brief periods of time (1-2 weeks). Furthermore, although cortisone will produce fast improvement in rosacea, the disease will flare very soon after discontinuation. Therefore, cortisone should not be used for long-term treatment of rosacea.
Possible side effects include: Thinning of the skinIncreased skin fragilityAcne-like breakoutWorsening of rosacea upon discontinuation
This is an acid compound that works to kill bacteria on the skin and increase turnover of skin cells. It is used to treat papulopustular or phymatous rosacea.
Possible side effects include: BurningTinglingStingingRednessPeelingSkin irritation
Common names include: BrimonidineXylometazolineOxymetazoline
The redness that is seen with erythematotelangiectatic rosacea may be controlled with these topical medications that restrict blood flow to the face. Brimonidine is a gel that is applied directly to the face. Xylometazoline and oxymetazoline are nasal decongestant solutions that are also appied to the face.
Possible side effects include: Burning or stingingFlushingRednessHeadache
Common names include: PropanololCarvedilol
Low-dose oral beta blockers may be helpful in managing erythematotelangiectatic rosacea. Traditionally, they are used as blood pressure medications. Their effect on the nerves that control blood vessels and pressure may also reduce facial redness. People with heart-related diseases may not be able to use beta blockers for rosacea. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this treatment.
Possible side effects include: NauseaLow blood pressureFatigueLightheadednessCold hands
Invermectin is an antiparasitic medication that helps with papulopustular rosacea. It is used as a topical medication to reduce inflammation and help clear the skin. Talk to your doctor if you think you are or plan on becoming pregnant. Invermectin is associated with birth defects. If you are of childbearing age, you may need to use birth control before starting treatment.
Common side effects include: HivesItchingFlushingLightheadedness
Common medications include: CyclosporineCorticosteroids
For rosacea that affects the eyes, your doctor may recommend eye drops (most common), gels, or emulsions. Cyclosporine helps to increase tear production to soothe dry, rirritated eyes. Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation. The type of medication prescribed depends on the symptoms or condition affecting the eye.
Possible side effects of cyclosporine include a burning sensation in the eye.
Possible side effects of corticosteroids include: Eye painEye infectionBlurred or a decrease in visionNausea or vomiting