A recent patient survey by the National Rosacea Society has documented the importance of compliance with medical therapy, as 88 percent of the respondents said their symptoms reappear or increase in severity if they fail to use their medication as directed.
In the new survey, 74 percent of 658 respondents said they take their rosacea medications as prescribed by their physician. Another 17 percent said they sometimes use their medications as prescribed, and only 9 percent reported they do not follow their doctor's orders.
Of those using medications as prescribed, 98 percent said this has reduced or somewhat reduced their rosacea symptoms.
Those who reported they do not fully comply with therapy cited a variety of reasons. Thirty-eight percent said they were concerned about long-term use of medication, and 27 percent said cost was a factor. Other concerns included side effects, named by 21 percent; difficulty remembering, cited by 20 percent; and risk of bacterial resistance, named by 17 percent.
When asked what happens when they stop using their medications, 54 percent of the respondents said a flare-up of symptoms eventually occurs, 43 percent said their symptoms worsen and 11 percent said their next flare-up is worse.
"Consistent use of medical therapy is not only important for treating the symptoms of rosacea, but plays an important role in maintaining remission," said Dr. Hilary Baldwin, vice chair of dermatology at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. She noted that topical therapies — as well as a low-dose, controlled-release oral therapy for rosacea — are designed to treat the inflammation (bumps and pimples) of rosacea rather than destroy bacteria.
"This minimizes the potential for bacterial resistance, and helps make them safe for long-term use," she said.
Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said they use a topical therapy, and 42 percent said they use an oral medication for this chronic disorder.
Dr. Baldwin noted that to achieve the greatest success in managing their rosacea, patients should recognize the importance both of long-term medical therapy as prescribed and avoiding their individual rosacea triggers.