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Interventions for rosacea.

BACKGROUND: Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition affecting the face, characterised by flushing, redness, pimples, pustules, and dilated blood vessels. The eyes are often involved and thickening of the skin with enlargement (phymas), especially of the nose, can occur in some patients. A range of treatment options are available but it is unclear which are the most effective.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the evidence for the efficacy and safety of treatments for rosacea.

SEARCH STRATEGY: In February 2011 we updated our searches of the Cochrane Skin Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Clinical Trials) in The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Science Citation Index, and Ongoing Trials Registers.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials in people with moderate to severe rosacea.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Study selection, data extraction, assessment of risk of bias, and analyses were carried out by two independent review authors.

MAIN RESULTS: Fifty-eight trials, including 27 from the original review, comprising 6633 participants were included in this updated review. Interventions included topical metronidazole, oral antibiotics, topical azelaic cream or gel, topical benzoyl peroxide and/or combined with topical antibiotics, sulphacetamide/sulphur, and others. Only two studies assessed our primary outcome 'quality of life'.Pooled data from physician assessments in three trials provided some evidence that metronidazole was more effective compared to placebo (RR 1.95, 95% CI 1.48 to 2.56). Three trials provided data, based on participants' assessments, illustrating azelaic acid was more effective than placebo (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.76).Physician-based assessments in two trials indicated that doxycycline appeared to be significantly more effective than placebo (RR 1.59, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.47 and RR 2.37, 95% CI 1.12 to 4.99). There was no statistically significant difference in effectiveness between 100 mg and 40 mg doses of doxycycline, but there was evidence of less adverse effects with the lower dose (RR 0.25, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.54).One study reported that cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion was significantly more effective than artificial tears for treating ocular rosacea (for all outcomes).

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Although the majority of included studies were assessed as being at high or unclear risk of bias there was some evidence to support the effectiveness of topical metronidazole, azelaic acid, and doxycycline (40 mg) in the treatment of moderate to severe rosacea, and cyclosporine 0.5% ophthalmic emulsion for ocular rosacea. Further well-designed, adequately-powered randomised controlled trials are required.

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