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Honey may improve rosacea severity


Topical 90 percent medical grade kanuka honey and 10 percent glycerin may be an effective rosacea treatment, according to a study.

Topical 90% medical grade kanuka honey and 10% glycerin is an effective rosacea treatment, according to a study published online June 24, 2015 in the British Medical Journal Open.

Researchers conducted a blinded, randomized controlled trial with 138 rosacea patients with a 2 or more facial rosacea score according to the 7-point (zero “clear” to six “severe”) Investigator Global Assessment of Rosacea Severity Score (IGA-RSS).

Patients received either the honey, a product called Honevo, or a control cream cetomacrogol to apply twice daily for eight weeks. Researchers were looking for a primary outcome of 2 or more improvement in the IGA-RSS score, and a secondary outcome which included improvement a subject-rated visual analogue score of change in severity (VAS-CS) on a 100 mm scale at two and eight weeks.

Of the 69 patients in the honey group, seven withdrew, three of those because of worsening rosacea (the others for reasons unrelated to their skin or side effects). Fifteen among 69 in the control group withdrew, with eight leaving the study because of worsening rosacea.

The researchers found 34.3 percent in the Honevo group and 17.4 percent in the control group had a 2 or more improvement in IGA-RSS at week eight compared to baseline, according to the study.

“The change in IGA-RSS for Honevo compared to control at week 2 minus baseline was −1 … and at week 8 minus baseline was −1 …. The subject-rated VAS-CS at week 2 was 9.1 (CI 3.5 to 14.7), p=0.002, and at week 8 was 12.3 (CI 5.7 to 18.9), p<0.001 for Honevo compared to control, representing greater improvement with Honevo,” according to the study. “There was no significant difference in diary-captured VAS-S, adjusted for baseline, at any of the time points between weeks 2 and 8 ….There was no significant difference in the participant-rated DLQI adjusted for baseline at week 2 (−0.3, CI −1.1 to 0.6, p=0.51) or week 8 (−0.01, CI −0.7 to 0.7, p=0.97).”

New Zealand-based HoneyLab developed the patent-pending Honevo. This clinical trial was partly funded by a grant from the government agency Callaghan Innovation.

Source: Fingleton J et al. A single-­blind randomised controlled trial of topical kanuka honey for the treatment of rosacea. British Medical Journal Open 2015; 5: e007651.

Access online at http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/6/e007651.abstract

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