Pharmacologic doses of nicotinamide in the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions: a review

Cutis. 2006 Jan;77(1 Suppl):11-6.


Various skin disorders with an inflammatory component often have been treated with steroids and/or oral antibiotics. However, long-term use of these agents has drawbacks: steroids may induce numerous serious side effects such as hypertension, immunosuppression, and osteoporosis, and overuse of oral antibiotics may contribute to the development of bacterial resistance, as well as to a host of nuisance side effects such as diarrhea, yeast infections, and photosensitivity. As a result, alternative oral treatments, such as nicotinamide, have been investigated. During the past 50 years, many clinical reports have identified nicotinamide as a beneficial agent in the treatment of a variety of inflammatory skin disorders; what's more, its exceptional safety profile at pharmacologic doses makes it a potentially ideal long-term oral therapy for patients with inflammatory skin diseases. A recent large study evaluating nicotinamide for the treatment of acne or rosacea has confirmed the potential benefits of oral nicotinamide as an alternative approach to managing inflammatory lesions associated with acne vulgaris and acne rosacea. This article reviews the substantial number of reports published over the past 50 years that document the clinical utility and safety of oral and topical formulations of nicotinamide for the treatment of a variety of inflammatory skin conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Combinations
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / immunology
  • Niacinamide / pharmacology*
  • Rosacea / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / drug therapy*
  • Skin Diseases, Vesiculobullous / immunology
  • Zinc / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Drug Combinations
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Niacinamide
  • Zinc