A recent study suggested that treatment of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium associated with peptic ulcers and other gastric disorders, may benefit the often small portion of rosacea patients who harbor this infection. However, another study has found that H. pylori itself does not appear to be a major factor.
In a study by Turkish researchers, 25 H. pylori-infected rosacea patients were given treatment for H. pylori consisting of the oral antibiotics amoxicillin and metronidazole for two weeks as well as bismuth subcitrate for four weeks.1 The severity of rosacea symptoms showed a significant decrease at the end of treatment compared with the initial scores.
"It should not be surprising that rosacea symptoms may improve during treatment for H. pylori, since antibiotics have long been successfully used to treat rosacea in all patients," said Dr. Larry Millikan, chairman of dermatology, Tulane University. "Smaller dosages of oral antibiotics are routinely prescribed to bring rosacea under immediate control, along with long-term use of topical antibiotics to maintain remission."
In a more recent controlled clinical study of 44 rosacea patients with H. pylori infection in the United States, half of the patients were treated for H. pylori and half were not. When examined two months after treatment, there was no statistical difference in rosacea symptoms between the treated and untreated groups.2
Utas S, Ozbakir O, Turasan A, Utas C: Helicobacter pylori eradication treatment reduces the severity of rosacea. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1999;40:433-435.
Bamford JT, Tilden RL, Blankush JL, Gangeness DE: Effect of treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection on rosacea. Archives of Dermatology. 1999;135:659-663.