Antibiotics help control the symptoms of rosacea rather than cure it, states WebMD. They seem to reduce the number of pimples and the amount of redness in the skin by controlling inflammation. Both topical and oral antibiotics may be used.
Doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole are among the most commonly prescribed oral antibiotics for rosacea, according to WebMD. Metronidazole is an example of a topical antibiotic. Mild stomach upset, nausea and diarrhea are common side effects of the oral antibiotics. Dizziness, headache, tiredness and difficulty sleeping are others.
Typically, the patient is started off on a high dose of oral antibiotics to bring the flare of rosacea under control, explains the International Rosacea Foundation. As symptoms improve, the antibiotics are tapered off and the patient is switched to a topical antibiotic. Unfortunately, the bacteria involved in rosacea become resistant to oral antibiotics over time, and sometimes in as little as three to five months. Regular switching of antibiotics can help lengthen the time before resistance occurs. With antibiotic treatment, results may be seen within three to four weeks, with the greatest symptom control experienced after two months.
Rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition marked by small, red, pus-filled pimples and persistent redness in the face, states Mayo Clinic. Symptoms tend to wax and wane, though they also tend to worsen over time. This common disorder often affects middle-aged women with fair skin.