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New treatment to manage erythema in rosacea patients

GPs may soon be able to offer patients with rosacea a treatment to reduce the facial redness associated with the skin condition.

A topical gel containing the active ingredient brimonidine, an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor which reduces erythema by causing vasoconstriction in the affected skin areas, was recently launched in the UK.

Two-month clinical trials comparing the gel, which is sold under the branded name Mirvaso, with a placebo found that it significantly reduced facial redness when applied once a day, while another study lasting 12 months showed it was effective and well-tolerated in patients.

However, patients still have to avoid the usual triggers for rosacea – such as heat and cold, alcohol and caffeine – so as to prevent the redness worsening once the effects of the drug wear off.

Dr Stephen Kownacki, chair of the Primary Care Dermatology Society and a recently retired GP, told Pulse the drug would be beneficial for those patients who suffer badly from facial flushing associated with rosacea.

Dr Kownacki said: ‘This is a very safe drug and has been around for a long time as eye drops, and is pretty effective judging from the studies so far. It’s not a treatment for rosacea and certainly not a cure, but appears to be very effective for the redness people get and it lasts quite a long time.’

He added: ‘I can see it could be a problem for CCGs as to whether to fund it – this doesn’t replace anything because it’s a treatment that didn’t previously exist.

‘But for those people with particularly severe redness and psychological disturbance as a consequence we shouldn’t underestimate the impact it can have. [If] people don’t go out, they hide away and it prevents them getting jobs and limit what they do, then I think there is a good argument that this should be available on the NHS.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • Vinci Ho

    Has hand written the first prescription today for a lady suffering from long history of rosacea where pustules and papules were absent but the flushing and erythema were totally disrupting her life. Had laser therapy in the past in hospital but problem still persists.
    Obviously , have to warn her about irritant contact dermatitis . Try small amount first to test the water.

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