How Metronidazole (Flagyl) can treat rosacea

How Metronidazole (Flagyl) treats rosacea

What is metronidazole?

Metronidazole is a kind of antibiotic in the class of nitromidazole antimicrobials.  The medication is typically used for skin infections, but can be used for a variety of different types of conditions ranging from mouth related infections to reproductive ones.  

It targets bacteria.  It is the generic form of Flagyl, Falgyl 375, Flagyl ER.  It also comes in topical gel for rosacea, but people have also been prescribed the oral therapy of this antibiotic for the condition.  Both can have severe side effects and can be dangerous.

The drug can be used for people with rosacea that aren’t being helped by OTC creams, ointments, and cleansers and other products deemed for rosacea treatment.

The drug can be used for:

  • Mouth infections
  • Urinary infections
  • Including infected gums
  • Dental abscesses
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases
  • Other infections that need a heavy hitting antibiotic

How often should someone use metronidazole as a cream or gel for rosacea?

The Metronidazole creams and gels come in different amounts as prescriptions.

  • 75 and 1% cream
  • 75% gel and 0.75% lotion

The gels and creams are effective in people who have mild to severe rosacea.  These products are usually used between one and four months to get a handle on the facial skin condition.  Usually, it is prescribed to be used two times a day.  It can take several weeks for changes to happen on the face.  If nothing happens within a couple of weeks, your dermatologist or other treating doctor most likely will have you stop the medication and arrange other treatment options for you.

There are other options that have virtually no side effects and can be used as a prevention or treatment for rosacea.   

How HOCL can help treat rosacea?

Rather than using metronidazole for rosacea either orally or topically, there are OTC options you can try.  Our PurClarity Revitalizing Mist is a non-toxic option and won’t make your insides have issues or cause any more skin problems on your face.

The product can help reduce and improve redness, rid of bacteria and help eliminate pustules on your face from rosacea.  This is a safe and effective product and in other formulas is used to clean hospital and other medical settings and is also sold in a spray so you can clean your vegetables and home as well.

The mist is also extremely powerful however; it won’t harm your face or create more redness, peeling or anything undesirable.  It targets your skin problem and helps heal damaged and wounded areas that won’t correctly.  You should always try products that are the least invasive first.  It might just be the only trick you need in your skin care routine.

While many studies show that the antibiotic, metronidazole works, orally, it has severe side effects and even topically.

How does topical metronidazole improve Rosacea?

In February 1990, an NIH study was done to look at rosacea and see what metronidazole could do for the skin condition. As a topical is used as a gel, the metronidazole has antimicrobial effects.  The gel can help improve and calm lesions and erythema.  It is able to help because it can target and help reduce inflammation and can use its immunosuppression action to help rid of bacteria on the skin. The results show that the medication has low toxicity and is tolerated well as a topical.

Clinical study in 1998 shows that metrogel works well for rosacea  

In a study completed in June 1998, metronidazole as a topical called, metrogel was studied.  It was found that it can maintain remission of the skin condition, rosacea. The topical form of metronidazole was used in this trial with an oral antibiotic, tetracycline. In a majority of subjects studied, continued treatment with metronidazole gel alone maintains remission of moderate to severe rosacea induced by treatment with oral tetracycline and topical metronidazole gel. Many people had adverse reactions such as GI disturbances from the tetracycline.  Some women also had vaginal problems and other unwanted side effects.

It is clear from this trial that topical agents can handle rosacea issues over a long period of time and oral antibiotic therapy probably isn’t even needed.  The topical metronidazole used in this trial was 0.5%-1.0%.  This percentage of drug worked well on rosacea, after the oral antibiotics were stopped. 

Side effects metronidazole

Like every prescription medication there are side effects and this medication is an oral medication.  It comes in capsules and tablets and can be very harsh.  The drug has been found to cause cancer in lab rats.  

There are useful side effects to rid of bacteria; however, you still need to be aware of the side effects.  Side effects come with cream, gel, and even more so with the capsule or tablet version of this antibiotic.  Always discuss potential issues with the pharmacist and your doctor if you start experiencing any unwanted ones. If there are many side effects, always report them and get to your nearest emergency room, if needed.

  • Potentially cancer— this occurred in lab rats during trials
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea and upset stomach
  • Stomach cramping
  • Constipation
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Metallic taste
  • Furry tongue and general tongue irritation

There are also many other side effects that can be severe.  You should contact your doctor or go to the emergency room for any of these side effects.

  • Possibly cancer (found in rats in studies of the drug)
  • Numb or tingling feeling in extremities
  • Rash
  • Itching or hives
  • Oral thrush (white patches in mouth or throat; fungal infection)
  • Breathing problems (slows down lung function due to an infection or something else)
  • Vision issues or vision loss
  • Dark urine (kidney and bladder issues)
  • Blistering or skin peeling
  • Flushing and blood pressure increases
  • Cold and flu symptoms: fever, sore throat, congestion, stuffy nose, general signs of an infection
  • Speaking problems, confusion or coordination
  • Agitation
  • Joint pain (could be anywhere)

Is Metronidazole a good option for rosacea?

While topical works well, it still can have side effects like the oral medication. Both types can cause mild to severe and serious side effects.  You need to talk to your primary care or dermatologist if you start to have any side effects.  You may need to cease taking this medication and may need treatment for oral thrush, vision problems, flu symptoms, or other problems as noted above. 

Because this drug is known to develop cancer in rats, it has become a controversial medication in the antibiotics line-up over the years, among other serious side effects that might not be worth taking a risk with the medication to begin with. 

If used for a short period of time orally, the medication should be able to improve your rosacea.  Many patients do see relief after using the gel or cream, after a short period of time.  This might be the avenue to take first. Always start with OTC products.  This way you and your doctor can gauge better treatment options later, if needed.

Alternatives for rosacea instead of using Metronidazole

Because this drug or cream can be too powerful for the treatment of rosacea, you may want to consider using other options for your face that are more holistic or integrative.  You can always boost your treatment options later and add this oral drug or topical if your rosacea is more than mild.

Here are alternatives that can improve your overall health and skin:

  • Vitamin C (boost immune system, and can help reduce infection rate, in many skin care lines, or you can take vitamin C as a liquid or a capsule or tablet; some vitamin C comes with lipids, or liposphereic vitamin c packets or gels)
  • B complex vitamins
  • Coconut oil (anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, skin soothing, anti-inflammatory; topically or it comes in gel pill or capsule form)
  • Castor oil (anti-bacterial, reducing inflammation)
  • Emu oil (can reduce inflammation)
  • CBD oil or cream (reduce inflammation)
  • Caprylic acid
  • Turmeric, or curcumin
  • Olive leaf capsules (infections)
  • Garlic (for infections) can take gel or capsules, or consume more garlic in your diet
  • Golden seal (for infections)
  • Echinacea capsules (for infections)
  • Walnut hull extract (liquid, but also you can get this in capsule form; for infections; a heavy hitting herbal supplement)
  • Probiotics (help improve gut health; flora, can help your skin issues, of any kind)
  • Caprylic acid (rid of candida, fungi, yeast)