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Efficacy and safety of azelaic acid (15%) gel as a new treatment for papulopustular rosacea: results from two vehicle-controlled, randomized phase III studies.

Author(s): Thiboutot D, Thieroff-Ekerdt R, Graupe K

Affiliation(s): Department of Dermatology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania 17033, USA.

Publication date & source: 2003-06, J Am Acad Dermatol., 48(6):836-45.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Clinical Trial, Phase III; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial

BACKGROUND: Rosacea is a common, chronic dermatosis for which safe and effective new treatment options are needed. OBJECTIVE: The objective of these studies was to evaluate the efficacy, tolerability, and safety of a new formulation of 15% azelaic acid (15%) gel (AzA gel), for the topical treatment of moderate, papulopustular rosacea. METHODS: Two multicenter, double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, vehicle-controlled studies were conducted using identical study designs, patient-selection criteria, and efficacy end points. Overall, 329 patients were enrolled in study 1 and 335 patients in study 2. RESULTS: Both studies consistently demonstrated the superiority of AzA gel over vehicle in the topical treatment of moderate, papulopustular rosacea. AzA gel yielded statistically significantly higher reductions in mean inflammatory lesion count than vehicle: 58% versus 40%, study 1 (P =.0001); 51% versus 39%, study 2 (P =.0208). Significantly higher proportions of patients treated with AzA gel experienced improvement in erythema compared with vehicle gel: 44% versus 29%, study 1 (P =.0017); 46% versus 28%, study 2 (P =.0005). Using the investigator's global assessment, therapeutic success in terms of a clear, minimal, or mild final result was achieved in 61% and 62% of patients treated with AzA gel in studies 1 and 2, respectively, which was significantly superior to the result achieved with vehicle (40% and 48%, respectively) (P <.0001, study 1; P =.0127, study 2). No serious, treatment-related adverse events were reported. CONCLUSION: The results of these 2 controlled studies demonstrate that AzA gel, used twice daily, is an efficacious, safe, and well-tolerated topical treatment for moderate, papulopustular rosacea.

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