Current drug therapies for rosacea: a chronic vascular and inflammatory skin disease

Steven R Feldman, William W Huang, Tu T Huynh
Journal of Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy 2014, 20 (6): 623-9

BACKGROUND: Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder that presents with abnormal vascular and inflammatory conditions. Clinical manifestations include flushing, facial erythema, inflammatory papules and pustules, telangiectasias, edema, and watery or irritated eyes.

OBJECTIVE: To discuss the evolving pathophysiology of rosacea, factors involved in promoting the chronic vascular and inflammatory abnormalities seen in rosacea, and the available drug therapies for the condition.

DISCUSSION: Chronic inflammation and vascular changes are believed to be underlying factors in the pathophysiology of rosacea. Aberrant cathelicidin expression, elevated kallikrein 5 (KLK5) proteolytic activity, and altered toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) expression have been reported in rosacea skin leading to the production of proinflammatory cytokines. Until recently, drug therapies only targeted the inflammatory lesions (papules and pustules) and transient erythema associated with these inflammatory lesions of rosacea. Brimonidine tartrate gel 0.5% was recently approved for the treatment of persistent (nontransient) facial erythema of rosacea, acting primarily on the cutaneous vascular component of the disease.

CONCLUSION: Rosacea is a chronic vascular and inflammatory skin disease. Understanding the role of factors that trigger the onset of rosacea symptoms and exacerbate the condition is crucial in treating this skin disease.

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