Treatments in the pipeline may offer more options for rosacea sufferers, according to Linda Stein Gold, MD, director of clinical research, in the department of dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.


In addition, topical minocycline has recently been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of rosacea in a 1.5% foam formulation. “The reason it has taken so long to have a minocycline product is that it is challenging to deliver it topically,” she said in a presentation at MedscapeLive’s annual Las Vegas Dermatology Seminar, held virtually. Studies of higher concentrations were not significantly better for rosacea, so development of the 1.5% foam was pursued, although a 4% foam is approved for the treatment of acne.

Dr. Stein Gold shared results from a pair of 12-week randomized trials in which significantly more patients treated with topical minocycline foam showed treatment success, compared with those on vehicle, based on Investigator’s Global Assessment (IGA) scores of clear or almost clear and a decrease of at least two grades from baseline: 52.1% versus 43.0% in one study and 49.1% versus 39.0% in the second, statistically significant differences. The product also was well tolerated, with most patients reporting no side effects or mild side effects.

Research on how to maximize effectiveness of available treatments such as ivermectin is ongoing, but several new treatments in the pipeline continue to show promising results, she noted.

An up-and-coming rosacea treatment is an old product used in a new way: Benzoyl peroxide in a microencapsulated form. “Benzoyl peroxide is encased in silica molecules that allow very slow release of the benzoyl peroxide into the skin and that leads to decreased irritation,” Dr. Stein Gold explained. The deposit of active ingredient on the skin appears to stay below the level of irritation.

Dr. Stein Gold and colleagues conducted two randomized, vehicle-controlled trials in which 733 adults with moderate to severe rosacea were treated with either the encapsulated benzoyl peroxide cream formulation or a vehicle applied once daily for 12 weeks.

At 12 weeks, IGA success increased over the course of the studies, and reached 43.5% in one and 50.1% in the other, compared with 16.1% and 25.9%, respectively, for the vehicle groups in those studies (P < .001 for both). Overall, she described this as “a nice improvement for a drug that we had not considered to be part of our treatment armamentarium for our rosacea patients.”

Dr. Stein Gold also shared data from a phase 2 study of low-dose oral minocycline in adults with papulopustular rosacea. A group of 200 patients used the drug or a placebo once daily for 16 weeks. The study examined 20-mg and 40-mg extended-release formulations, and found a significant improvement with the 40-mg dose over the 20-mg dose and over placebo, in terms of those who reached an IGA of 0 or 1, with a 2 grade improvement. While this is a phase 2 study, it may lead to oral minocycline as another treatment option, she said.

“It is an exciting time for the treatment of rosacea, with a variety of options and an active pipeline, so we can aim for clear skin for our patients,” she commented.

Dr. Stein Gold disclosed serving as an investigator and consultant for Galderma, Vyne, Sun, Sol Gel, and Almirall; she is a consultant and speaker for Ortho.

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