Prescription Treatments for Rosacea

The following products are frequently prescribed to treat the symptoms of skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, or dermatitis. In many countries they may require a doctor's prescription.


Noritate™ is a treatment for rosacea which works due to the anti-inflammatory action of Metronidazole (an antibiotic) which is its active ingredient. Noritate is meant to help to reduce the spots and redness of rosacea through its anti-inflammatory action. It, therefore, may help to control, but not cure, rosacea.

In clinical studies, the total incidence of treatment-related side effects with Noritate™ was equal to 2%. The following individual events occurred in less than 1% of patients: applications site reaction, condition aggravated, stinging, acne, and dry skin.

Noritate causes minimal irritation as it does not contain known irritants such as benzyl alcohol, lactic acid, sodium hydroxide, propylene glycol or light mineral oil.

Metronidazole Topical

Representative Brand Names: MetroCream, MetroGel, MetroLotion Rozex Gel and Noritate Topical

Metronidazole is used to treat acne rosacea ("adult acne"), a chronic condition in which the facial skin is inflamed and sores develop. Metronidazole decreases the redness and number of sores but may not be a cure.

Although side effects from metronidazole are not common, they can occur such as increased skin redness, dryness, burning, irritation, or stinging.

In clinical trials, patients experienced the following side effects in order of frequency: skin discomfort (burning and stinging), redness, skin irritation, itching, or worsening of rosacea. Individual events occurred in 10 percent of patients or fewer.


Galderma has trademarked the name Mirvaso for the newest option in their rosacea line of treatments. Many rosacea sufferers will know this product under its former name - Sansrosa.

Mirvaso® is a (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33% is an alpha adrenergic agonist prescribed as a topical treatment for persistent facial erythema associated with rosacea in adults 18 years of age or older.

Potential side effects include erythema, skin burning sensation, flushing and contact dermatitis. Warnings/Precautions: There are also several instances when caution is advised if one sufferers from other medical conditions including depression which can be quite common in those with rosacea, coronary or cerebral insufficiency, Raynaud's syndrome, those who have or experience dizzy spells due to a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing up or stretching, those who experience frequent or recurring episodes of inflammation and clotting of the veins and arteries of the hands and feet, sufferers of autoimmune diseases affecting the hands, feet and face, severe or unstable or uncontrolled cardiovascular disease or Sjogren's syndrome.

Recently added to the Mirvaso website is a statement on possible rebound effects from use of Mirvaso:

Some patients have reported a "worsening" of redness after using MIRVASO. Some of these reports may be attributed to an unexpected return of redness of exposure to triggers. In clinical trials, about 10% of subjects reported flushing while using MIRVASO. In all cases the reported adverse events resolved.

It is important to set realistic expectations for patients about the effect of MIRVASO. MIRVASO is not a cure - it is a temporary fix for facial redness, and their redness will return when the effect of MIRVASO wears off.


BenzaClin® is a combination of two acne medications in a single gel: clindamycin 1% and benzoyl peroxide 5%.

Clindamycin is a topical antibiotic. It has been shown to be effective against bacteria such as P. acnes that can contribute to the development of the inflamed red pimples seen in acne.

Benzoyl peroxide is another product with antibacterial properties commonly used to treat acne.

BenzaClin® has been found to work better than either clindamycin or benzoyl peroxide alone for the topical treatment of acne.

Side effects are usually limited to the skin and may include dry skin, reaction at the site of the application, itching, peeling, redness, and sunburn. Also clindamycin, an ingredient in BenzaClin, may cause diarrhea. If you experience severe diarrhea, stop using BenzaClin and consult your physician immediately.

You should not use BenzaClin if you are allergic to clindamycin, benzyl peroxide, or the antibiotic lincomycin, or if you have a history of colitis.

Tell your doctor if you are breast feeding before using this medicine.

You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant.


(diflorsone diacetate cream) 0.05%
(diflorasone diacetate ointment) 0.05%

May cause local adverse reactions including burning, itching, irritation, and dryness. Prolonged use may produce reversible HPA suppression.

Recommended for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

Tell your doctor if you are breast feeding before using this medicine.

You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant.


Benzamycin® (3% erythromycin, 5% benzoyl peroxide), approved by the FDA in 1985, was the first topical combination of benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin. Benzamycin® is one of the most frequently prescribed topical antibiotics for acne in the United States.

Side effects are usually limited to the skin and may include: dry skin, reaction at the site of application, itching, peeling, redness, and sunburn. You should not use Benzamycin® if you are allergic to benzoyl peroxide or erythromycin.

Tell your doctor if you are breast feeding before using this medicine.

You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant.


(sodium sulfacetamide lotion)

**Klaron has not been studied in a specific sensitive skin population.

Adverse reactions in clinical trials were infrequent and restricted to local events (erythema, itching, and edema). Severe reactions such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis have occurred with sulfonamides.

Tretinoin (Topical)

Tretinoin (Topical) also known as Retin-A® Renova(Tm)

Treats acne and other skin conditions. Also used to treat fine wrinkles, skin spots, and rough skin. Tretinoin is related to vitamin A.

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to Retin-A®, Tegison®, Accutane® or other vitamin A medicines.

You should not use medicated cosmetics or cover-ups, abrasive soaps or cleansers, products with alcohol, spice, or lime in them, acne medicines, hair removal products, or anything that might dry your skin unless your doctor tells you to.

Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking other medicines that may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Some of these are "water pills" such as hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), antibiotics such as tetracycline, Cipro®, Floxin®, or Noroxin®, sulfa drugs, and some medicines used to treat emotional problems or vomiting such as Mellaril®, Thorazine®, Stelazine®, or Compazine®.

Talk with your doctor before using this medicine if you are sensitive to sunlight or have eczema (a severe skin condition) or a sun burn.

You should not use this medicine on open wounds or wind burned or sunburned skin.

This medicine will make your skin very sensitive to sunlight. Try not to spend too much time in direct sunlight. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, protect your skin with clothing and a strong sunscreen. You should not use a sunlamp or tanning booths.

Tell your doctor if you are breast feeding before using this medicine.

You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor right away if you are pregnant or think you are pregnant.

If you are using this medicine for acne, the acne may get worse before it starts to get better.

If you are using the medicine for wrinkles, skin spots, or rough skin, it may take about 3-to-6 months before you notice improvement. This medicine should be part of a skin care plan that includes staying out of the sun and using a moisture cream regularly.

Side effects:


Elidel is approved for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in adults and children ages two years and older.

Elidel is the first non-steroid prescription for mild to moderate atopic dermatitis for use in children and adults and is one of the first new treatments since topical corticosteroids were introduced almost 50 years ago.

Commonly known as eczema, atopic dermatitis is an itchy skin condition affecting up to 17 percent of the US population, or more than 40 million Americans.

ELIDEL® has been proven to relieve eczema without the side effects associated with long-term topical corticosteroid use, such as thinning of the skin, stretch marks, or spider veins.

The most common side effects:

Clindamycin 1% Lotion, Clindagel Gel

Topical clindamycin is an antibiotic used to treat acne. It has also been used for the treatment of rosacea (a facial skin condition).

A side effect that may go away during treatment is dry skin. If it continues or is bothersome, check with your doctor.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if you experience skin rash; swelling, redness, burning, or peeling of your skin; stomach pain; or diarrhea. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

Representative Brand Names:C/T/S Topical Solution, Cleocin T Gel, Cleocin T Lotion, Cleocin T Pledgets, Cleocin T Topical Solution, Clinda-Derm Topical Solution, Clindagel Gel, Clindets Pledget

Topical Clindamycin may possibly (but rarely) cause colitis (inflammation of the colon). If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

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