Using metronidazole for acne is an effective treatment, but it is mainly useful for treatment of the swelling and redness caused by the condition. Studies have shown the medication can be effective when administered in a gel form with 1 percent concentration and that it can be effective in combination with benzoyl peroxide. Metronidazole is used in a topical gel form for the treatment of acne rosacea, which is more common in adults than teenagers. Doctors don’t know exactly how metronidazole helps patients suffering from acne, but it is effective.
Common among teenagers, children and young adults, acne is the most common type of skin condition that affects people. The condition is characterized by skin blemishes appearing on the chest, back and face of affected patients, and it often affects the self esteem of those suffering from it. Hormones released during puberty can cause the onset of acne, and most people will experience some form of acne in their lives. Most patients who use treatments such as metronidazole for acne will see a reduction in symptoms by about half within three months of beginning treatment.
The topical cream version of metronidazole for acne is the one that is most commonly used. Metronidazole is an antibiotic drug that has been developed as a cream for treatment of acne rosacea. Although the actual mechanism by which it works is a mystery to doctors, it is believed to attack the DNA of bacteria and prevent them from creating new DNA. The drug works primarily against bacteria that do not require oxygen to survive and multiply. When metronidazole is prescribed for acne, it works primarily as an anti-inflammatory, reducing the inflammation and redness associated with the condition.
Studies conducted into the effects of metronidazole cream on acne have concluded that it can be an effective treatment. Research performed on lower concentrations of the treatment, such as a 0.75 percent preparation, have had inconclusive results, but higher concentrations get positive results. Concentrations as low as 1 percent have had positive effects in scientific research, and the results are similarly positive when combined with another treatment such as benzoyl peroxide. This suggests that prescribing metronidazole for acne can be effective when it is administered in the form of a cream.
Side effects are rare with metronidazole cream, and if they do occur, they are unlikely to be particularly severe. Some patients have experienced side effects such as nausea, skin redness, itching or a burning or stinging sensation in the skin. These side effects are not likely but can occur in some patients, along with the possibility of an allergic reaction to the cream.