Flare-Ups Hit Often but Medicine Eases Severity: Survey

Posted: 10/20/2014

The majority of rosacea patients experience an outbreak of symptoms at least once a week, but even greater numbers cite medication and trigger avoidance as effective tools in controlling those flare-ups, according to results of a new National Rosacea Society patient survey.

Forty-two percent of the 774 survey respondents said they notice the reappearance or increase in intensity of their rosacea symptoms every few days, and 17 percent said their flare-ups occur once a week. Seventeen percent said they have an outbreak of symptoms once a month, 21 percent said it happens every few months and 4 percent said they experience a flare-up only once a year.

“Rosacea is known as a disorder of flare-ups and remissions, where symptoms come and go, so the goal is not only to decrease the severity and duration of flare-ups, but to maintain remission to increase the length of time between outbreaks,” said Dr. Julie Harper, clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “In addition to compliance with long-term medical therapy, it may take a patient some time to determine exactly which lifestyle and environmental factors exacerbate his or her individual case and should thus be avoided.”

According to the survey, the duration of a flare-up varies greatly from patient to patient, just as the signs and symptoms do. Nineteen percent of those answering the survey said their outbreaks last less than a day, and 30 percent said they last more than a day; 25 percent reported they last more than a week; 12 percent noted they last several weeks; and 13 percent said the duration was more than a month. 

The good news is that 68 percent of the survey respondents said medication has been effective in controlling their flare-ups, and 76 percent said avoiding factors that aggravate their rosacea has been effective in controlling the condition.

The duration of flare-ups tended to be shorter than average among those who reported success with medication and trigger avoidance. Within that subset, 55 percent said their outbreaks last less than a week, and about a third of those noted that the duration was less than a day. Twenty-six percent said their flare-ups last more than a week, 9 percent said they last several weeks and 9 percent said they last more than a month.

Fifty-seven percent of the patients taking the survey characterized their rosacea flare-ups as moderate, while 20 percent called them mild and 23 percent labeled them as severe. Among those in the severe category, 59 percent said they experience a flare-up every few days, and only 31 percent said the outbreaks last less than a week. Twenty-six percent said they last more than a month. 

Social Media Editor: Emma Terhaar

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The National Rosacea Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people with rosacea by raising awareness, providing public health information and supporting medical research on this widespread but little-known disorder. The information the Society provides should not be considered medical advice, nor is it intended to replace

consultation with a qualified physician. The Society does not evaluate, endorse or recommend any particular medications, products, equipment or treatments. Rosacea may vary substantially from one patient to another, and treatment must be tailored by a physician for each individual case. For more information, visit About Us.