Azelaic acid (AzA) 15% gel is approved for the treatment of rosacea in the US, but also has approval for the treatment of acne vulgaris in many European countries where it has demonstrated success. Two randomized, multicenter, controlled clinical trials compared the effects of AzA 15% gel with those of topical benzoyl peroxide 5% or topical clindamycin 1%, all using a twice-daily dosing regimen. The primary endpoint in the intent-to-treat analysis was a reduction in inflammatory papules and pustules. AzA 15% gel resulted in a 70% to 71% median reduction of facial papules and pustules compared with a 77% reduction with benzoyl peroxide 5% gel and a 63% reduction with clindamycin. AzA 15% gel was well-tolerated. In addition, a 1-year European observational study conducted by dermatologists in private practice evaluated the safety and efficacy of AzA 15% gel used as monotherapy or in combination with other agents in more than 1200 patients with acne. Most physicians (81.9%) described an improvement in patients' symptoms after an average of 34.6 days, and 93.9% of physicians reported patient improvement after an average of 73.1 days. Both physicians and patients assessed AzA 15% gel to be effective with 74% of patients being "very satisfied" at the end of therapy. AzA 15% gel was considered "well-tolerated" or "very well-tolerated" by 95.7% of patients. The majority of patients were more satisfied with AzA than with previous therapies. AzA 15% gel represents a new therapeutic option for the treatment of acne vulgaris.