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Safety of Combination Laser or Intense Pulsed Light Therapies and Doxycycline for the Treatment of Rosacea

Schilling, Laura M. MD*; Halvorson, Christian R. MD*; Weiss, Robert A. MD*,†; Weiss, Margaret A. MD*,†; Beasley, Karen L. MD*,†

doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000002009
Original Article

BACKGROUND Current treatment options for rosacea include topical agents, oral therapies, phototherapy using lasers, or intense pulsed light (IPL). Combination therapy for rosacea often yields better results than monotherapy. The safety of laser/light treatments in combination with systemic doxycycline has been questioned because of the theoretical risk of photosensitivity.

OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence of phototoxicity or photosensitivity in rosacea patients receiving concomitant laser or light treatments and systemic doxycycline.

METHODS Treatment records of 36 patients receiving laser/light treatments while also being treated with standard dose or anti-inflammatory dose of doxycycline were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS No adverse reactions related to doxycycline combined with laser/light therapy were reported. Specifically, no photosensitivity or sensitivity to wavelengths in the pulsed dye laser (PDL), or IPL range was observed in this cohort. All patients achieved some degree of clearance.

CONCLUSION The results of this retrospective study demonstrate that doxycycline used in conjunction with laser or nonlaser light therapy is a valid combination therapy for improving signs and symptoms of rosacea. No photosensitivity reactions were observed to commonly used IPL or PDL devices.

*Maryland Laser Skin & Vein Institute, Hunt Valley, Maryland;

Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Laura M. Schilling, MD, 54 Scott Adam Road, #301, Hunt Valley, MD 21030, or e-mail:

The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

© 2019 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.
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