An antibiotic gel treatment used for rosacea treatment, Metrogel is a prescription-only medicine marketed by Galderma. With metronidazole as an active ingredient, Metrogel relies on the similar mechanism of action as numerous other oral tablets used in the treatment of bacterial infections. Usually used twice per day over a period of time specified by a doctor, Metrogel is very easy to use and rather effective in combating this skin condition.

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What is rosacea and what causes it?

Rosacea is a very common skin condition, affecting roughly one in ten people within the UK, according to NHS research. Usually localized to the face area, the root causes of rosacea have yet to be identified. Its symptoms include thickening of the skin, appearance of blood vessels through the skin, redness or flushing, appearance of small raised spots (papules) and in a limited number of cases, pustules or pus-filled lumps.

Rosacea is marked by cyclic and sometimes seemingly random succession of periods of increased and decreased activity and prominence. Although it primarily affects the face, it can sometimes also spread to eyes where it can cause redness, dryness and feeling of obstruction.

At this moment, there are several competing theories aiming to explain what exactly causes this condition, with the possible interaction of different factors not being ruled out. A significant number of scientists and medical experts seem to support the idea that compromised function of the blood vessels play a central role. This impaired function, in turn, is thought to have been caused (or at least exacerbated) by damage caused by sunlight exposure.

On the other hand, there are many scientists who support alternative theories. One of them points out to mites of the genus demodex folliculorum that commonly live on the human skin and are considered to be harmless under normal circumstances. However, if they become overpopulated due to various reasons, the concentration of bacteria that live around them can also increase, thus causing the characteristic skin reaction.

The second major alternative theory suggests that certain stimuli such as alcohol consumption, spicy food and even strong emotions can increase the activity of peptides, molecules that naturally exist within the skin. Once they enter into a period of increased activity, these molecules can contribute to the over-activity of the immune system which in turn releases different naturally produced chemicals that are responsible for the usual rosacea symptoms.

Managing rosacea

Despite unknown root causes, there is considerable agreement among the medical experts regarding the common triggers of this condition. With this knowledge, it is, at least ideally, possible to avoid them and thus successfully manage the condition. On the other hand, those external stimuli that can cause a flare-up of the symptoms can be very varied and difficult to avoid, as they include factors such as:

  • Exposure to UV rays
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Stress and strong emotions
  • Spicy food
  • Physical exertion
  • Certain weather conditions (sudden drop or increase in temperature)
  • Caffeine
  • Dairy products
  • Wind

Because of the difficulty of rosacea management, most of the people affected who wish to somehow deal with the treatment eventually opt to visit a doctor and ask for advice regarding proper treatment.

How does Metrogel help with rosacea?

The active ingredient of Metrogel, metronidazole is a type of antibiotic (similar to Efracea) that prevents the development of infected pustules and has numerous anti-inflammatory properties when applied to the skin. The exact mechanism of action is, as of now, yet unknown, mostly because the causes of rosacea are also still open for debate. Despite the fact that rosacea was not confirmed to be a bacterial infection, the treatment does produce the desired results, limiting and mitigating the symptoms. This makes Metrogel similar to Finacea, too, while it is virtually identical to Rozex products.

How is Metrogel used?

Using Metrogel is no rocket science – it is as simple as it sounds! You simply apply a thin layer of gel to the affected area two times per day and you are good to go. Of course, additional guidelines and tips will be provided to you by your doctor or pharmacist, with additional information being available in the official patient information leaflet that can be found within every box of the medicine.

Some most general guidelines that we can offer include:

  • Always use as directed (usually two administrations per day)
  • Clean the affected area before applying the gel
  • Apply a thin layer of gel over the affected region and then carefully rub it in
  • The total duration of the treatment will be determined by the doctor
  • Avoid contact with the eyes
  • Avoid exposure to direct sunlight over the course of the treatment
  • If you miss a dose, just skip it and continue with the treatment as usual

What are Metrogel side effects?

Whatever medicine you might be using, it is always advisable to get familiar with the possible side effects that might manifest as an unwanted result of the treatment. For a majority of medicines, the most severe side effect that cannot be easily anticipated is an allergic reaction to one or several components of the drug. If you notice the symptoms of an allergic reaction such as swelling of the face or difficulties breathing, contact the emergency services immediately.

The known side effects of Metrogel are the following:

Frequency of occurrence Side effects
Common (1 in 10 users) Dry or red skin, itching, burning or stinging sensation, worsening of rosacea
Uncommon (1 in 100 users) Numbness or tingling in fingers and toes, metallic taste, general malaise

Metrogel contraindications and precautions

As is the case with all prescription medication, Metrogel isn’t suitable for anyone and there are some things you should keep in mind when using this medicine. In terms of drug interactions, Metrogel has been known to interact with anticoagulants such as warafin or dicoumarin. On the other hand, it is also vital to make your doctor aware of your medical history as some existing conditions might be considered to be contraindications (such as blood disorders).

Finally, consumption of alcohol is not recommended during the period you are using metrogel.