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    More evidence of rosacea, autoimmune link


    Thoughts on the gender gap

    What might explain the gender gap that appears to make female rosacea patients more vulnerable to autoimmune illness?

    “In the same way that rosacea is more frequent in women, increased female susceptibility to autoimmune diseases is widely recognized,” Dr. Egeberg says. “It may depend on estrogenic hormones and sex chromosome abnormalities.” 

    How can the study findings be useful? “The link with autoimmune disease may enable early detection and treatment of underlying illness,” Dr. Egeberg says. “Moreover, it is well-established that early and aggressive treatment of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis are associated with a milder disease course.”

    Fortunately for patients, some medications may be helpful to treat both rosacea and autoimmune conditions too. “Meta-analyses have demonstrated that tetracyclines, in particular minocycline, are associated with a significant improvement in disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis,” he says. “And clinical trials have shown that doxycycline combination with beta-interferon is effective in treatment of multiple sclerosis.”

    What’s next? “Researchers from the U.S. have recently suggested a link between rosacea and inflammatory bowel disease,” Dr. Egeberg says, and it will be interesting to see if rosacea is associated with other autoimmune diseases as well.”

    Randy Dotinga
    Randy Dotinga is a medical writer based in San Diego, Calif.


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