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Rosacea and its management: an overview.

BACKGROUND: Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects 10% of the population. The prevalence of rosacea is highest among fair-skinned individuals, particularly those of Celtic and northern European descent. Since a cure for rosacea does not yet exist, management and treatment regimens are designed to suppress the inflammatory lesions, erythema, and to a lesser extent, the telangiectasia involved with rosacea.

OBJECTIVES: This review outlines the treatment options that are available to patients with rosacea.

METHODS: Published literature involving the treatment or management of rosacea was examined and summarized.

RESULTS: Patients who find that they blush and flush frequently, or have a family history of rosacea are advised to avoid the physiological and environmental stimuli that can cause increased facial redness. Topical agents such as metronidazole, azelaic acid cream or sulfur preparations are effective in managing rosacea. Patients who have progressed to erythematotelangiectatic and papulopustular rosacea may benefit from the use of an oral antibiotic, such as tetracycline, and in severe or recalcitrant cases, isotretinoin to bring the rosacea flare-up under control. Treatment with a topical agent, such as metronidazole, may help maintain remission. Patients with ocular involvement may benefit from a long-term course of an antibiotic and the use of metronidazole gel. A surgical alternative, laser therapy, is recommended for the treatment of telangiectasias and rhinophyma. Patients with distraught feelings due to their rosacea may consider cosmetic camouflage to cover the signs of rosacea.

CONCLUSIONS: With the wide variety of oral and topical agents available for the effective management of rosacea, patients no longer need to feel self-conscious because of their disorder.

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