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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2001 Nov;45(5):723-30.

Once-daily topical metronidazole cream formulations in the treatment of the papules and pustules of rosacea.

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Department of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School/Clinic, 13400 E Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.



The papules and pustules of rosacea can be effectively treated with topical metronidazole. The optimal concentrations of metronidazole and optimum frequencies of application are uncertain. Traditionally, twice-daily applications have been advised, based on the pharmacokinetic profile of metronidazole. Once-daily applications may be safer and less expensive, and they may enhance patient compliance.


We compared the efficacy and safety of 2 commercially available topical metronidazole formulations (0.75% metronidazole cream formulation and 1.0% metronidazole cream formulation) when both were used in a once-daily regimen.


A multicenter, randomized, investigator-blind, parallel group trial was conducted at 3 separate clinical sites located in 3 US cities. The study enrolled 72 rosacea patients with at least 8 to 50 inflammatory facial lesions (pustules and papules) and moderately severe facial erythema. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 0.75% metronidazole cream or 1.0% metronidazole cream and instructed to apply the medication once daily for 12 weeks. Patients' lesions were evaluated at baseline and at weeks 3, 6, 9, and 12.


There were no significant differences between treatment groups for any of the efficacy parameters evaluated. The overall median percentage change in lesion count at end point for patients in the 0.75% metronidazole cream treatment group was -62% compared with -60% for the 1.0% metronidazole cream treatment group. The overall percentage change in erythema scores at endpoint for patients in the 0.75% metronidazole cream treatment group was -26% compared with -30% for patients in the 1.0% metronidazole cream treatment group. Regarding physician assessment of global severity, 57% of subjects (20/35) in the 0.75% metronidazole cream group compared with 37% of subjects (13/35) in the 1.0% metronidazole cream group were rated as having a clear to mild condition at end point. Both drugs were well tolerated; there was no significant difference in the number of drug-related adverse events between the two agents.


This controlled trial demonstrates that both 0.75% metronidazole cream and 1.0% metronidazole cream, when used once daily, provide well-tolerated efficacy for moderate to severe rosacea.

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