March 2014

Rosacea; the Curse of the Celts

Tue, 25 March 14 08:43

As celebrations got underway around the world for St Patrick’s Festival, international experts gathered in UCD to discuss a skin disorder most commonly seen in people of Celtic origin. The 1st International Symposium: Update on Rosacea 2014 took place in the UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology, University College Dublin on Friday, 14th and Saturday, 15th March 2014.

Leading clinical, academic and pharmaceutical specialists from across Europe, the United States and Asia gathered to discuss the latest clinical and research findings on rosacea as well as current approaches to diagnosis, management and future prospects for improved treatment.

Rosacea is most frequently seen in people who have fair, sun-sensitive skin, especially those of Celtic origin. It is a common skin disorder that causes redness, and later pimples of the skin that can lead to disfiguration of the face. The cause of rosacea is poorly understood and the management of this common condition with its chronic and recurring symptoms can be a challenge.

Dr David Piwnica from Galderma R&D in France spoke to delegates about the various research models in use by the pharmaceutical company to better understand the physiological processes at play in rosacea. Prof Mauro Picardo from the San Gallicano Dermatological Institute in Rome described how the pattern of distribution of skin lipids differs in acne and rosacea.

Rosacea commonly causes people to flush very easily particularly with changes in temperature, exercising, spicy food or after taking hot drinks or alcoholic beverages.
The abuse of alcohol is sometimes mistakenly attributed as the cause of rosacea. This misconception causes additional social issues (avoiding social interactions, depression, work-related issues and even unemployment) for patients already afflicted with a noticeable skin condition.

The main feature of rosacea is a transient redness or ’flushing’ of the facial skin that can become a persistent erythema for which there is currently no approved medication for treatment, making it a key unmet medical need. In the absence of effective treatment, patients are usually advised to identify and avoid environmental and lifestyle triggers that can exacerbate erythema. However, this is often not sufficient.

Professor Martin Steinhoff, director of UCD Charles Institute and the Charles clinic at St. Vincent’s University Hospital said, “We believe that facial erythema arises when the factors controlling the diameter of blood vessels in the skin go awry causing more blood to flow into the area and giving rise to the stereotypical redness associated with rosacea. This flow is prolonged in rosacea patients.

We have seen positive responses in clinical studies for the treatment of moderate to severe erythema of rosacea using a once-daily topical application of brimonidine tartrate gel (0.5%), as early as 30 minutes after application. Commonly used to treat glaucoma, the active ingredient has potent vasoconstrictive activity and has now been shown to reduce erythema of rosacea.”