It’s important to understand that there is not currently a cure for rosacea. There are, however, some rosacea medications that your doctor may prescribe to help alleviate your red face, pustules, thicker skin, and rosacea in the eyes. If your doctor prescribes a medication as a red face solution, you’ll find the expense of these medications and the potential side effects must be carefully considered. If you want to try using medications to treat rosacea, here are your options.
Note that all of the following are the generic drug names. Your doctor may prescribe a specific brand name medication that falls into one of these categories.
Oral Medications for Rosacea
Doxycycline: As a Tetracycline antibiotic, Doxycycline works by combating the bacteria in the body. It cannot help ease the redness caused by rosacea, but it will help alleviate the pustules and lesions that can occur. It may also help with painful, swollen styes that occur with ocular rosacea.
Isotretinoin: This retinoid reduces the production in the skin’s oil glands. This helps alleviate any rough, hard patches that can develop with rosacea. If you are prescribed Isotretinoin, make sure you tell your doctor about every medication you are using, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements. Certain types of birth control pills can become ineffective when taken with retinoid. Isotretinoin can also conflict with Tetracycline medications and increase pressure within the brain.
Minocycline: Like Doxycycline, Minocycline is another Tetracycline medication that kills bacteria. This rosacea medication is most commonly used to treat the pustules that form on the face. Avoid taking any vitamins and minerals within two hours of the medication as they can reduce its effectiveness.
Topical Medications for Rosacea
Azelaic Acid: This antibacterial medication is applied directly to the skin. It’s commonly used to treat acne, but it can be helpful in treating some subtypes of rosacea.
Benzoyl Peroxide/Hydrocortisone: This acne medication is not usually a first choice for cases of rosacea as it can be very drying to the skin. When it is prescribed, it’s another two-stage medication that works by first killing bacteria and then by reducing inflammation.
Brimonidine: If your doctor prescribes Brimonidone, it’s likely that facial redness is your biggest complaint. The topical medication works by constricting blood vessels just under the surface of the skin, easing the red, flushed look that comes with rosacea. Some blood pressure medications conflict with Brimonidine, so make sure your doctor knows every medication you are taking.
Ivermectin: Ivermectin is often used by veterinarians to kill parasites. Its effectiveness in treating some cases of rosacea might be linked to the belief that some forms of rosacea are triggered by demodex mites.
Loteprednol: These eye drops may be the first choice to treat ocular rosacea. They help with the itching and redness that occurs with rosacea in the eye. Before you use them, your doctor may simply have you try lubricating eye drops, such as Systane Balance, Ultra, or Lubricant Eye Gel, a few times a day.
Metronidazole: Medications like MetroGel, one of the brand names for Metronidazole, are usually the first medication used to battle rosacea. It works in two ways. First, it kills the bacteria, and second, it decreases inflammation. This helps alleviate the redness.
Niacinamide: This topical gel is really just a topical form of vitamin B. Why it works isn’t quite understood, but patients do report having skin that is well moisturized and less inflamed.
Sulfacetamide Sodium/Sulfur: This two-stage prescription treatment for rosacea is a topical lotion you apply to your skin. It starts by working to kill any bacteria on the skin and then gets to work loosening any scaly skin appearing on your face. It is generally safe, but you should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have any allergies, and make sure to give him/her a complete list of the medications and vitamin, mineral, or herbal supplements you use.