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J Dermatol. 2004 Aug;31(8):610-7.

Efficiency of benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin gel in comparison with metronidazole gel in the treatment of acne rosacea.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Medical Faculty of Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Türkiye.


Oral wide-spectrum antibiotics are the linchpin of rosacea treatment. Oral and topical metronidazole, topical tretinoin, and topical benzoyl peroxide may also be used in the treatment of rosacea. We aimed to show that benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin gel is efficient in the treatment of acne rosacea. Fifty-six patients with acne rosacea were enrolled in our study. We administered benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin gel to 27 patients and metronidazole gel to 29 patients. In all the patients, the intensities of erythema, telangiectasia, papules/pustules, and nodules were evaluated before, during and after the treatment. The positivity of Demodex folliculorum from skin scratches was compared between the two groups at each visit. At the end of the therapy on the third examination, in the benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin group, 91.7% of the patients showed marked clinical improvement, and 8.3% of them showed complete remission. In the metronidazole group, 73.3% showed marked clinical improvement, and 26.7% of them showed complete remission. Clinical improvement in the papular component was 65.2% for the benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin group, and 81.5% for metronidazole group. In the first examination, the clinical results of the agents were similar. Although both of the drugs were found to be effective in the second and third examinations, metronidazole gel was more effective than benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin. Both of the drugs were found to be significantly effective especially in treating the papular component of rosacea. Demodex folliculorum was found to be positive in 74.1% of the benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin group and in 62.1% of the metronidazole group at the beginning. In the benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin group, 40.7% of Demodex folliculorum positive patients, became negative by the first examination. This was 17.2% for the metronidazole group. In the benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin group, among the patients who were positive for Demodex folliculorum in the first examination, 37.5% of them became negative. This was 36.7% for the metronidazole group. Benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin gel was superior to metronidazole gel in decreasing Demodex folliculorum by the first examination, but the effect of the two drugs on Demodex folliculorum was similar by the second examination. As a result, topically applied combined benzoyl peroxide-erythromycin gel may be an alternative choice of treatment for acne rosacea.

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