Oral and Topical Antibiotics for Rosacea

Metronidazole (Topical)

Topically applied Metronidazole is part of the group of antibiotics called nitroimidazoles. This group of antibiotics treats only protozoal and bacterial infections. It has been found to be effective in treating bacterial infections of the skin, stomach, vagina but not vaginal yeast infections, joints, and respiratory tract infections. When used in conjunction with anti-ulcer medications may treat some types of stomach ulcers. Oral and topical forms of Metronidazole have been used to treat skin redness and pimples caused by rosacea, adult acne and acne rosacea.

Metronidazole is marketed orally under the brand name Flagyl, and topically under the names Noritatev, Metrocream®, Metrogel® and Metrolotion.

When using Metronidazole, avoid using the medicine in or near the eyes. Metronidazole may cause some adverse reactions such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headaches or dizziness, skin rash, irritation, dryness or itching, skin redness or flushing.


Clindamycin is in the group topically applied lincosamide antibiotics. It is used to treat anaerobic bacterial infections and some protozoal infections such as malaria. It has shown some success in treating MRSA - methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections. Clindamycin is commonly used to treat mild to moderate acne, dental infections and peritonitis, bone and joint infections resulting from Staphylococcus aureus, and respiratory tract infections.

Clindamycin is marketed under the names Cleocin-T in gel, solution or lotion forms, Cleocin®, Clindacin, Dalacin and Lincocin®. It has been used in a compounded formula mixed with benzoyl peroxide under the names Acanya, BenzaClin, Clindoxyl and Duac. Clindamycin is also used in a combined formula with tretinoin under the name Ziana.

Do not use Clindamycin when breastfeeding or pregnant. Use may cause severe diarrhea. Use of Clindamycin has been linked to skin rash, dryness, hives, and skin irritation, burning or peeling of the skin, and Swelling of the face, lips, or throat.


Sulfacetamide is prescribed for ophthalmic, ocular or eye infections. Sulfacetamide is one of a group of medications called sulfonamide antibiotics.

Sulfacetamide is marketed under the names Ak-Sulf®, Cetamide®, Isopto-Cetamide®, Ophthacet®, Sodium Sulamyd®, Sulfair®, Sulfair Forte®, Sulf-10®, and Sulten-10®.

Avoid using Sulfacetamide if you are allergic to sulfa medications. Use of Sulfacetamide may result in vision changes, Watery eyes, moderate to severe eye irritation, and stinging, itching, redness or burning of the eyes.

Sodium Sulfacetamide

Sodium Sulfacetamide prescribed topically in a 10% sodium solution for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis and acne. In this form it may also be marketed under the names Ovace or Klaron. Sodium Sulfacetamide a 10% sodium solution 5% sulfur solution is marketed under the names Avar, Clenia, Plexion, and Prascion.

When using Sodium Sulfacetamide you may experience skin irritation, burning or stinging of the skin at the application site, skin redness and more rarely joint or muscle pain and scaling of the skin.