A Side-by-Side Look at the Most Common Rosacea Treatments

Side Effects, Effectiveness, Dosage, and Costs

Elizabeth Szaluta, MPH


May 17, 2017

Comparisons of Leading Treatments

*Full cost. Actual cost varies, depending on patient's insurance, coupons, discount cards, and amount of medication prescribed. Coupons are available for many medications. Some medications may not be covered by insurance.

**Common side effects are listed. Patients may not experience any side effects.

Table 1. Oral Antibiotics

Agent Minocycline
Tetracycline (Generic)
Dosage 100-200 mg daily. 100-200 mg daily 40 mg low dose for long-term use 250-1000 mg daily 250-1000 mg daily
*Sample Cost $72.26 per 100 mg x 30 $26.04 per 100 mg x 30 $134.97 per 250 mg x 28 $39.27 per 250 mg x 30
**Side Effects Dizziness, tired feeling, spinning sensation; joint or muscle pain;
discoloration of skin or nails;
mild nausea, mild diarrhea, upset stomach; mild skin rash or itching;
swollen tongue, discoloration of gums; vaginal itching or discharge.[3,4]
Loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea; rash, hives.

Treatment with doxycycline can result in photosensitivity.

May affect birth control.[3,4]
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain/cramping, and loss of appetite.

Use is often limited by gastrointestinal distress. May affect birth control. [3,4]
Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea; vaginal and rectal itching and sores; mouth sores and tongue swelling; "hairy" or black tongue; photosensitivity.[3,4]
Effectiveness Most effective.[5]

Can result in vertigo and blue dyspigmentation; has also been implicated in the development of lupus-like syndromes and hypersensitivity reactions.

May affect birth control and cause antibiotic resistance.[3,4]
Highly effective; 20-mg dose may result in sub-antimicrobial blood levels.

Reduced risk for gastrointestinal irritation.[3,4]
Effective, though generally used in patients who are intolerant to tetracyclines and in pregnant women in whom tetracyclines are contraindicated.[3,4] Marked improvement; on par with doxycycline.

Contraindicated during pregnancy.[3,4]


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