Propranolol, doxycycline and combination therapy for the treatment of rosacea

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Doxycycline is the standard systemic treatment for rosacea. Recently, there have been a few reports on β-adrenergic blockers such as nadolol, carvedilol and propranolol for suppressing flushing reactions in rosacea. To our knowledge, there are no comparative studies of propranolol and doxycycline, and combination therapy using both. The aim of this study was to investigate and compare the efficacy and safety of monotherapy of propranolol, doxycycline and combination therapy. A total of 78 patients who visited Pusan National University Hospital and were diagnosed with rosacea were included in this study. Among them, 28 patients were in the propranolol group, 22 the doxycycline group and 28 the combination group. We investigated the patient global assessment (PGA), investigator global assessment (IGA), assessment of rosacea clinical score (ARCS) and adverse effects. Improvement in PGA and IGA scores from baseline was noted in all groups, and the combination therapy was found to be the most effective during the entire period, but this was statistically insignificant. The reduction rate of ARCS during the treatment period was also highest in the combination group (57.4%), followed by the doxycycline group (52.2%) and the propranolol group (51.0%). Three patients in the combination group had mild and transient gastrointestinal disturbances but there was no significant difference from the other groups. We conclude that the combination therapy of doxycycline and propranolol is effective and safe treatment for rosacea and successful for reducing both flushing and papulation in particular.

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