Dermatologists should need no reminder that rosacea's impact on affected individuals is significant. According to the National Rosacea Society (NRS, rosacea.org), more than 76 percent of rosacea patients in a recent survey said that uncontrolled rosacea had lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem, and 41 percent reported that it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements. However, despite the extent to which rosacea affects quality of life, only a fraction of the millions of Americans suffering from the condition has been treated.
Advocacy efforts from organizations such as NRS aim to increase awareness and education about rosacea so that patients can seek appropriate treatment. A staple of this effort is the upcoming National Rosacea Awareness Month in April. To mark the event and reach out to the growing number of those with rosacea, the NRS will conduct public service announcements and other educational activities. According to the NRS, the campaign “is designed not only to raise public recognition of the many ‘faces of rosacea,' but also to emphasize the importance of seeking professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment— before the disorder becomes increasingly intrusive in people's emotional, social, and professional lives.”
A Range of Treatments
Several therapies have proven invaluable in relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life of those with rosacea, and more treatments are emerging. “There are a variety of safe and effective agents available for the treatment of rosacea,” says Michael Gold, MD, Director of the Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, TN. These include oral agents such as Oracea (doxycycline 40mg, Galderma), minocycline (Solodyn, Medicis; Minocin, Triax Pharmaceuticals), and standard doxycycline (Doryx, Warner-Chilcott; Monodox, Aqua; or Adoxa, PharmaDerm), he says. Several topical agents can be effective as well, observes Dr. Gold: “Prescription strength Metrogel (metronidazole, Galderma) and Finacea (azaleic acid, Intendis) are the most common topically prescribed medicines.”
Traditional treatments are often not enough for more extensive cases of rosacea, according to Dr. Gold. “Severe rosacea can result in broken vessels that require more aggressive approaches to treatment,” he notes. Lasers and other light-based devices are now safer and more effective at treating rosacea, he says, and will likely play a larger role in treating more serious cases. In particular, intense pulsed light (IPL) devices, such as the Lumenis One or the Sciton BBL, can be used to treat blood vessels, as can the pulsed dye lasers such as the V Beam or the Cynergy, observes Dr. Gold. There are also promising developments for potential treatment approaches in future. “Most recently, the notion of using photodynamic therapy (PDT) to treat rosacea has generated much interest and seems to have a lot of potential,” says Dr. Gold.
In addition to various medications for the treatment of rosacea, Dr. Gold says cosmeceuticals can play an increasingly important role. “Patients may also benefit from some of the dermatologic dispensed cosmeceuticals, such as Obagi RosaClear system (cleanser, hydrator, and sunscreen), Avene's Antirougeurs Anti-redness Cleansing Fluid and Diroseal night time lotion, and Results RX REDuce Serum,” he says.
Boosting Education and Compliance
Despite the increasing number of effective therapies that successfully treat various forms of rosacea, issues with compliance often stand in the way of successful treatment outcomes, Dr. Gold notes. He stresses the importance of re-enforcing to patients that medications are safe, effective, and can prevent flares. “Patients need to understand that they must stay on their medications to achieve their maximum clinical effect,” he notes.
Increasing education and awareness efforts are essential not only to encourage individuals with rosacea to visit dermatology practices, but also to increase compliance, says Dr. Gold. One of these efforts offered by the NRS is a toll-free number (1-888- NO-BLUSH) that individuals can call for information about their condition. The NRS also offers Rosacea Review, a “Rosacea Diary” to help patients identify and avoid lifestyle factors that may trigger flare-ups in their individual cases and other booklets to help patients understand and manage their condition.
Physicians can join in the effort to increase awareness by providing patients with the Society's materials. According to Mary Erhard, Director of Medical Communications for the NRS, physicians can suggest that their patients join the Society. “Patients will receive a New Member Support Kit that includes a booklet on rosacea and materials to help identify and avoid rosacea triggers; Rosacea Review, a regular newsletter for patients including news on research, results of patient surveys, success stories, lifestyle and environmental factors, and tips on managing its signs and symptoms; and other benefits. All of these materials encourage compliance with medical therapy,” she explains. Bulk quantities of educational materials are available to health professionals for their patients through the NRS web site at Rosacea.org.
A new Smartphone App is also available for patients with diagnosed or suspected rosacea. See this month's “Recent Developments.”
It is also helpful to empathize with patients and encourage them not to be afraid to talk about rosacea with others. “Physicians might mention to their patients that rosacea is very common, and advise them to suggest to others they know with possible signs and symptoms to consult a dermatologist,” Ms. Erhard notes. Aside from prescribing medications, Dr. Gold suggests, basic education about rosacea can be helpful for patients. “People with rosacea need to be aware of and avoid the known triggers such as alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, and chocolates, and they should be careful in the sun as well,” he observes.
As National Rosacea Awareness Month approaches, physicians should be keen to boost awareness for rosacea in any way that they can, whether that's by taking the time to talk to patients about the many beneficial medications used to treat it or by referring them to the National Rosacea Society. Education efforts both within and outside dermatology practices will be paramount in providing millions with this disease with the tools and knowledge to seek and adhere to treatment.
Log on to PracticalDermatology.com on March 21 or after for a continuously updated guide to events, programs, and services planned to mark Rosacea Awareness Month. Patient prescription savings and incentive programs will also be highlighted.
Rosacea Awareness Month: April
National Rosacea Society: Website:Rosacea.org; E-mail:
email@example.com; Phone: (888) NO-BLUSH
Log on to PracticalDermatology.com on or after March 21 for a listing of events and services.
• Rosacea affects 16 million+ Americans
• A Gallup survey found that 78 percent of Americans have no knowledge of Rosacea
• In surveys by the National Rosacea Society, nearly 70 percent of rosacea patients said the condition lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem; 41 percent reported it had caused them to avoid public contact or cancel social engagements.
Rosacea Awareness Month: Resources
The Eau Thermale Avène National Rosacea Awareness Sweepstakes will go live on Avene's Facebook page by March 23 and will run thru April 30, 2011. In honor of National Rosacea Awareness Month, Avène will be giving away 500 Anti-Redness Solution kits through April 30th, 2011. Users just have to "like" the Avène page (current fans are also eligible) and then complete a short form in order to enter. 500 winners will be selected randomly:
• “Best Face Forward” is an online community for inidivuals with rosacea. Members receive e-newsletter, e-zines, progress tolls, and news updates: http://www.metrogel.com/Consumer/RosaceaManagementTools/JoinBFF.aspx
• The “Dr. Conversation Starters” help patients prepare for clinic visits: http://www.metrogel.com/Consumer/RosaceaManagementTools/DoctorConversationStarters.aspx
• Savings and patient support programs for Oracea, including the “Rosacea Reflections” newsletter, can be found online:
• Intendis has launched The Rosacea App (see this month's “Recent Developments”), a free application for Smartphones intended to provide education and help patients manage the disease.
There is also an instant $10 savings.
Both offers are available at http://finacea-us.com/en/home.php
• The “Talk to Your Doctor” page offers suggestions to help patients prepare for clinic visits: http://www.finacea-us.com/en/talk-to-your-doctor/preparing-for-your-dermatologist-visit/index.php
• A patient e-newsletter, “SkinSavvy,” is free: Finacea-us.com
From the National Rosacea Society
• The NRS offers Rosacea Review, a “Rosacea Diary” to help patients identify and avoid lifestyle factors that may trigger flare-ups, and a New Member Support Kit:
Rosacea.org or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.