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Derm News: 2007.10(6)

The effect of azithromycin on reactive oxygen species in Rosacea

Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 32(2):197-200
Ö. Bakar, Z. Demirçay, M. Yuksel, G. Haklar, Y. Sanisoglu


Recent evidence suggests that inflammation in rosacea is associated with generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that are released by inflammatory cells. The efficacy of current therapeutic agents for rosacea such as tetracyclines and metronidazole has also been attributed to their antioxidant properties. Recently, a macrolide antibiotic, azithromycin, has been found to be an effective alternative in the treatment of rosacea.


We planned a study to evaluate the antioxidant effects of azithromycin on ROS in rosacea. We compared basal ROS concentrations measured in the facial skin of patients with rosacea with the post-treatment levels and with those of healthy controls.


Facial skin biopsies of 17 papulopustular patients with rosacea and 25 healthy controls were taken. Rosacea patients were assigned to receive oral azithromycin 500 mg on three consecutive days each week for 4 weeks. The total number of inflammatory lesions (the sum of papules and pustules) on the face of each patient with rosacea was counted at each visit. The luminol- and lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence (CL) levels of patients with rosacea were measured before and after 4 weeks of treatment and compared with those of healthy controls.


Rosacea patients had higher ROS levels than healthy controls (P < 0.001). A statistically significant decrease of both luminol- and lucigenin-enhanced CL levels were observed in patients with rosacea after treatment with azithromycin (t = 4.602, P < 0.001; vs. t = 4.634, P < 0.001, respectively).


Rosacea patients have higher ROS levels than healthy controls. The Results of our study support the antioxidant properties of azithromycin in rosacea.

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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.