Oral sarecycline for treatment of papulopustular rosacea: Results of a pilot study of effectiveness and safety

James Q. Del Rosso, Zoe Diana Draelos, Cheryl Effron, Leon H. Kircik

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7 Scopus citations


Background: Cutaneous rosacea is a common inflammatory skin disorder that often presents with facial papulopustular lesions that are frequently bothersome to patients. Studies have shown oral sarecycline to be effective and safe for acne, with a low risk of side effects that are historically associated with other tetracycline-class drugs such as doxycycline and minocycline, in addition to offering a reduced risk of emergence of resistant bacteria due to its narrow-spectrum of antibiotic activity. Oral sarecycline is FDA-approved for the treatment of acne (2018). Objective: A pilot study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral sarecycline in papulopustular rosacea. Methods: A 12-week, prospective, parallel-group, investigator-blinded, controlled pilot study was completed evaluating once-daily sarecycline, using weight-based oral dosing as recommended for acne vs control (multivitamin tablet), for the treatment of moderate-to-severe papulopustular rosacea in adult subjects (n=102), aged ≥18 years. The primary efficacy endpoint was Investigator's Global score (IGA; clear or almost clear) and percent reduction in inflammatory lesion count at week 12. Safety and tolerability assessments were performed as well. Results: A total of 102 subjects were randomized; 97 completed the study. At week 12, IGA improvement was significantly greater for oral sarecycline when compared to the control (P<0.0001). Furthermore, absolute and percent reductions in inflammatory lesion counts were significantly greater in the sarecycline group for all weeks (4, 8, and 12) when compared to the control (P<0.001). Significant improvement in facial burning, erythema, and pruritus was reported in the sarecycline group, when compared to the control (P<0.05). No serious AEs were reported. Conclusion: Sarecycline was effective, safe, and well-tolerated for treating papulopustular rosacea in adults with marked superiority in efficacy compared to subjects in the control group. With its narrow-spectrum activity, oral sarecycline may be a good option for the treatment of papulopustular rosacea. Additional studies are warranted to confirm the positive results of this pilot study.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Drugs in Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


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