Doxycycline For Rosacea

Doxycycline for rosacea is often prescribed by physicians, because it is at least somewhat effective in treating the inflammatory lesions generally associated with this medical condition. The condition has no real cure, but doxycycline has demonstrated to be one of the most effective antibiotics for managing the symptoms of rosacea.

Main Article

Rosacea is a skin condition that looks something like acne, because it is often characterized by blemishes which appear on the upper body, but it also usually includes several other symptoms which make it distinctive. Redness is one of the most common characteristics of rosacea, and it can appear on the skin of the face, neck, head, chest, and ears. Some additional symptoms often experienced by people with rosacea are:

  • Difficulty with vision
  • Bumps which appear on the eyelids
  • Nose which becomes swollen and bulbous
  • Blood vessels on the eyelids which are broken
  • Skin areas which look very dry and patchy
  • Sensation of burning or stinging on some skin surfaces
  • Skin pores which seem significantly larger than normal

If you experience several of these symptoms simultaneously, it is highly advisable to see your family doctor for treatment, because if left untreated, these symptoms can become permanent, and will be no longer treatable.

Doctors and scientists do not know for sure what causes rosacea, but there are several factors which seem to play a role in its appearance in certain individuals:

  • Genetics – rosacea can appear in members of the same family, and their descendants
  • Bacteria – some bacteria which normally reside in the digestive tract can give rise to a hormone called gastrin, which gives people the flushed appearance characteristic of rosacea. However, it is not known why there might be elevated levels of these bacteria in persons who actually have rosacea.
  • Mites – everyone has some of these tiny creatures on their skin, but people with rosacea seem to have more of them for some unexplained reason
  • Blood vessel problems – facial blood vessels can become enlarged in some people, perhaps due to sun exposure, and this can contribute to the rosacea symptom
  • Susceptibility to certain factors – it is thought that certain factors contribute to rosacea such as having blond hair, light skin, and blue eyes. Smoking may also be a risk factor, as is being female, being between the ages of 30 and 50, and a prior history of acne.

Treatments for rosacea

There are several treatments for the symptoms of rosacea, which have been described above. Since the condition itself cannot be cured by any known medication at present, the best that can be hoped for is that the most severe symptoms can be managed somewhat effectively, so that some level of comfort can be achieved, and so that your personal appearance does not suffer too much.

To eliminate some of the flushed appearance or redness associated with rosacea, brimonidine is sometimes prescribed, since it has the ability to tighten up facial blood vessels. Isotretinoin is a drug often used to treat acne, because it acts on skin bumps to clear them up. Azelaic acid also works on clearing up skin bumps and facial redness and swelling.

Some other more exotic treatments are sometimes recommended for rosacea to get symptoms under control. For instance, dermabrasion is occasionally used as an option, as it involves sanding off the uppermost layer of skin, which carries most of the symptoms of rosacea. Electrocautery is a procedure which uses electrical currents to reduce the size of particularly large and unsightly blood vessels. Lasers can be used for the same reason, targeting the larger and more obvious blood vessels which can detract from your appearance.

Doxycycline treatment for rosacea

Doxycycline is not prescribed for treating the flushed appearance which rosacea sufferers usually exhibit. The redness which normally becomes quite visible in a patient who has rosacea is not affected by the medication at all, but the bumps which look a lot like acne will usually be controlled pretty well by the medication.

Doxycycline is prescribed for rosacea in dosages which are below the normal dosage that would be recommended for a patient who has an infection of some kind, because the higher dosage does not add anything to its ability to reduce the swelling. The specific dosage is usually a 40 mg capsule, and should be taken in the morning, either an hour before a meal or two hours following a meal. The treatment can be used by both adults and children, provided that the age of a child being treated is at least eight.

The 40 mg dosage also imparts some other benefits which are noteworthy. Because of this low-dosage amount, the drug can be taken for a relatively long period of time, whereas if a higher dosage were being taken, it might very well cause some problems attributable to long-term antibiotic usage.

It is strongly recommended that doxycycline be ingested with plenty of water or other fluids, so as to minimize the chance that it will irritate the lining of the throat. Anyone prescribed a program of treatment with doxycycline should always complete the entire prescription of the medication so that it has the best chance of managing the swelling and acne symptoms. Even if significant improvement is observed well before the end of the prescription, the entire remaining amount should also be taken.

How doxycycline works

Doxycycline is a synthetic drug, which means it is manufactured. It is made from tetracycline, which is an agent that prevents bacteria from making proteins which are necessary to the bacteria’s survival. The bacteria present in a patient bothered by rosacea are thus prevented from producing the proteins which are responsible for perpetuation of the bacteria, and as a result the bacteria then die. This is the process which helps to reduce and sometimes eliminate the acne-like bumps which appear during a rosacea flare-up.

Generally, doxycycline is used when some of the worst flare-ups of rosacea are in progress, because that’s when symptoms become severe. Before and after these increases in symptoms, topical ointments and creams are generally used to control redness and any minor appearance of acne bumps on the skin. In this way, doxycycline can be used on a relatively long-term basis, and since the low-dosage amount will always be prescribed, there is no danger of a patient developing immunity to its effects.

There are a few side effects which can occur in patients using doxycycline for rosacea, although these are generally not severe, and most patients experience few side-effects or none at all. However, when any reactions do occur, they are generally in the form of mild nausea and vomiting, or in some cases, abdominal pain. Any patient who does experience fairly severe side effects should discuss these with the family doctor, so that a determination can be made on whether some other treatment should be used. A discussion like this will often come down to a consideration of the benefits provided, versus the inconvenience and discomfort of any side-effects.