Efficacy and safety of once-daily topical brimonidine tartrate gel 0.5% for the treatment of moderate to severe facial erythema of rosacea: results of two randomized, double-blind, and vehicle-controlled pivotal studies

J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 Jun 1;12(6):650-6.


Background: Brimonidine tartrate, a highly selective α2-adrenergic receptor agonist with potent vasoconstrictive activity, was shown to reduce erythema of rosacea.

Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of topical brimonidine tartrate gel 0.5% for the treatment of erythema of rosacea.

Methods: Both studies were randomized, double-blind, and vehicle-controlled, with identical design. Subjects with moderate to severe erythema of rosacea were randomized 1:1 to apply topical brimonidine tartrate gel 0.5% or vehicle gel once-daily for 4 weeks, followed by a 4-week follow-up phase. Evaluations included severity of erythema based on Clinician's Erythema Assessment and Patient's Self-Assessment, as well as adverse events.

Results: Topical brimonidine tartrate gel 0.5% was significantly more efficacious than vehicle gel throughout 12 hours on days 1, 15, and 29, with significant difference observed as early as 30 minutes after the first application on day 1 (all P<.001). No tachyphylaxis, rebound or aggravation of other disease signs were observed. Slightly higher incidence of adverse events was observed for topical brimonidine tartrate gel 0.5% than for vehicle; however, most of the adverse events were dermatological, mild, and transient in nature.

Limitations: These data generated in controlled trials may be different from those in clinical practice.

Conclusions: Once-daily brimonidine tartrate gel 0.5% has a good safety profile and provides significantly greater efficacy relative to vehicle gel for the treatment of moderate to severe erythema of rosacea, as early as 30 minutes after application.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brimonidine Tartrate
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / adverse effects
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy
  • Facial Dermatoses / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quinoxalines / administration & dosage
  • Quinoxalines / adverse effects
  • Quinoxalines / therapeutic use*
  • Rosacea / drug therapy*
  • Rosacea / pathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Gels
  • Quinoxalines
  • Brimonidine Tartrate