Treatments for Rosacea: Antibiotics

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rosacea skin diseaseRosacea is a skin disease that commonly affects the face. It causes redness and small pus-filled red bumps on the skin.

This skin disease can affect anyone, but it is most common among middle-aged fair-skinned women.

The disease tends to function in cycles, with flare-ups occurring and then dissipating, before another flare-up occurs. These flare-ups can last for weeks or even months.

If rosacea isn’t treated, it will generally get worse over time. Speak to a doctor if you notice persistent skin symptoms consistent with rosacea in order to start treatment. For mild rosacea, most doctors won’t recommend any pharmaceutical treatment.

Mild rosacea flare-ups can be controlled by avoiding the environmental triggers that lead to them. This includes avoiding sun exposure and wearing sunscreen, protecting skin from cold in the wintertime with a scarf or ski mask, and avoiding harsh skin care products that contain irritants such as alcohol.

rosacea creamThere are also topical treatments that can be used to deal with rosacea symptoms. Most of these gels and creams are used to treat the pustule component of rosacea, not the redness and flushing.

For milder cases of rosacea, these topical treatments can result in symptoms clearing for significant periods of time even after the treatment is discontinued.

For more severe flare-ups, antibiotics may be necessary. Antibiotic treatment has been found to control rosacea flare-ups. Unlike most cases where antibiotic treatment is used, they are not prescribed for their ability to fight bacterial infection. Instead, they are used for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Topical antibiotics such as clindamycin creams are usually attempted first. These treatments are spread on the skin. They only affect the treated areas, not your whole body. If topical antibiotics don’t work, or if the flare-up is especially bad, the doctor may prescribe oral antibiotics. These are generally broad-spectrum oral antibiotics such as tetracycline and tetracycline derivatives like minocylcine.

Antibiotics for rosacea treatmentMinocycline is one of the most effective treatments for rosacea. There are other types of antibiotics that can be used for rosacea treatment, but none is as effective as minocycline.

It works in smaller doses than other types of antibiotics, which is a positive for rosacea treatment. Many patients report that the use of minocycline led to dramatic improvement of their symptoms.

In many patients, the amount of the medication required to control a flare-up reduced over time. One patient reported needing the medication daily for weeks at first, then only three times a week for a few weeks. After that, the patient only required one to three doses to control flare-ups.

Generally, initial results take a couple of weeks to a month to begin to show. Pustules will generally disappear first, followed by the flushing. The overall redness is usually the last symptom to respond to treatment.

rosacea treatmentIf rosacea is treated with antibiotics, it is generally in an attempt to control the flare-up, not cure the disease or prevent flare-ups in the future.

As soon as the current flare-up is under control, the physician will taper the patient off of the antibiotics. Taking antibiotics between flare-ups can do more harm than good when it comes to rosacea treatment.

Minocycline has a variety of negative side effects. It makes patients more prone to sunburn, for example. If used for an extended period of time, minocycline can lead to hyperpigmentation of the skin, which appear as bluish or greyish spots. However, these issues can be somewhat offset by the use of sunscreen and a daily Vitamin C supplement.

The potential side effects and other negative consequences of using broad-spectrum antibiotics are severe. Antibiotic resistance of unrelated diseases is one such consequence. In addition, the human digestive system is reliant on the presence of “good” bacteria, which are killed indiscriminately by oral antibiotics.

rosacea pustules Physicians usually limit the use of antibiotic treatments to patients whose prognosis is otherwise not good. For example, they will prescribe minocylcine for rosacea in cases where the rosacea pustules could impact the patient’s eye.

If left unchecked, pustules in the eye area can lead to blindness. This danger certainly offsets the potential side effects of taking the antibiotics.

To avoid some of these problems, antibiotics given for rosacea treatment are usually given in very small doses. These doses will provide the anti-inflammatory effect necessary to control the rosacea symptoms without the antibiotic effect. This cuts down on the danger of antibiotic resistance developing from the use of oral antibiotics for rosacea.

While the risk of antibiotic resistance is something to be considered, it shouldn’t prevent any physician from treating the patient in front of them. If antibiotics are necessary to control a flare-up, then antibiotics should be used. Keeping a patient’s quality of life at a high level is more important than the future potential of antibiotic resistance.

rosacea symptomsOnly a physician can decide what course of treatment is best for your rosacea symptoms. And of course, you cannot obtain oral or topical antibiotics without a doctor’s prescription.

Do not attempt to treat your rosacea with antibiotics left over from another illness. You will likely do yourself a lot of harm without actually doing anything for your rosacea.

If you need treatment for your rosacea, speak to your doctor about other types of medications before trying antibiotics such as minocycline. While minocycline is very effective when it comes to treating rosacea, there are a large number of side effects and potential dangers involved in using broad-spectrum antibiotics for rosacea.

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