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

Side Effects, Effectiveness, Dosage, and Costs

Elizabeth Szaluta, MPH


May 17, 2017

Table 2. Topical Antibiotics

Agent Erythromycin (gel or cream)
Metronidazole (gel or cream)
Clindamycin HCI
Dosage 1 g/day 2% (varies based on area needing treatment) 1.8 g/day 1% (varies based on area needing treatment) 1 g/day 1% (varies based on area needing treatment)
*Sample Cost $9.99 / 30 g $97.72 / 55 g 1% $36.64 / 30 g
**Side Effects Mild skin irritation or tenderness; dry or oily skin; itching, peeling; mild eye irritation.[3,4] Rare: Stomach pain, diarrhea; dizziness, loss of balance; dry mouth or unpleasant metallic taste; cough, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose; swollen or sore tongue

Has been associated with potential (although rare) side effects such as neuropathy and seizures.[3,4]
May cause the serious intestinal condition Clostridium difficile, though rare.

Nausea, vomiting; joint pain, swelling; thrush; dark urine; yellowing of eyes, skin.[3,4]
Effectiveness Generally well tolerated and effective.

Can be used when tetracyclines are not tolerated or are contraindicated.[3,4]
Second most effective after ivermectin. Generally well tolerated.[3,4] Generally effective.[3,4]


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