Migraine, triptans, and the risk of developing rosacea: A population-based study within the United Kingdom

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Rosacea is a common skin disease, involving neurogenic inflammation and neurovascular dysregulation. Migraine has been associated with vascular changes and sterile inflammation. The 2 diseases have been associated over decades, but evidence is scarce. Triptans have vasoconstricting and antiinflammatory properties, but a potential impact of this drug class on rosacea remains uninvestigated.


We sought to analyze the association between migraine or triptan exposure and the risk of developing rosacea within the United Kingdom.


We conducted a case-control study using the United Kingdom–based General Practice Research Database. We identified patients with incident rosacea between 1995 and 2009 (cases), and matched 1 rosacea-free control subject to each case. We compared the prevalence of diagnosed migraine and exposure to triptans before the first-time rosacea diagnosis between cases and controls using multivariate conditional logistic regression.


Among 53,927 cases and 53,927 controls, we observed a small overall association between rosacea and migraine in women (adjusted odds ratio 1.22, 95% confidence interval 1.16-1.29), but not in men. This effect was somewhat more distinct in female migraineurs aged 50 to 59 years (odds ratio 1.36, 95% confidence interval 1.21-1.53). Female triptan users also revealed slightly increasing risk estimates with increasing age, with the highest odds ratio of 1.66 (95% confidence interval 1.30-2.10) in women aged 60 years or older.


This is a retrospective case-control study, for which a certain degree of bias and confounding cannot be ruled out.


We observed a slightly increased risk for female migraineurs to develop rosacea, particularly in women with severe migraine aged 50 years or older.

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