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New Gel Tops Standard Treatment for Rosacea

Azelaic compound seems effective treatment for facial skin condition

MONDAY, Nov. 17, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new formulation of azelaic acid gel reduces rosacea-related redness and lesions better than the commonly used treatment metronidazole gel.

So says a study in the November issue of the The Archives of Dermatology.

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes red, flaky patches on the nose and cheeks. Some people with rosacea also develop lesions that appear similar to small pimples.

This University of Alabama at Birmingham study tested a new product containing 15 percent azelaic acid specifically made to treat rosacea. Researchers compared this new gel with 0.75 per cent metronidazole gel.

Azelaic acid and metronidazole are antimicrobials preparations used to treat acne. It's also been observed that they reduce rosacea-related skin conditions.

In this study, 124 people used the azelaic acid gel and 127 people used the metronidazole gel. They applied the gels to the affected areas twice a day for 15 weeks.

Fifty-six percent of those using the azelaic acid gel experienced a reduction in redness, compared to 42 percent of the people using the metronidazole gel, the study says.

In addition, the effectiveness of the metronidazole gel seemed to plateau after eight weeks, while the azelaic acid gel offered continuous improvement over the 15-week study.

"These results suggest a beneficial effect of azelaic acid during prolonged treatment periods, warranting further investigation of long-term treatment of rosacea with azelaic acid gel," the study authors write.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about rosacea.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives, news release, Nov. 17, 2003
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