Topical Metronidazole

Manage rosacea symptoms with metronidazole

Topical metronidazole is a medication used to reduce redness, swelling, and bumps caused by rosacea. Most people start seeing improvement in symptoms within three weeks of use.

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Medicine Strength Quantity Price Stock
Metronidazole gel0.75%1 x 45g tube$29.00In Stock
Metronidazole cream0.75%1 x 45g tube$58.00In Stock
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Reviewed by Dr Roy Kedem, MD

Information last reviewed 09/24/21


What does topical metronidazole treat?

Topical metronidazole is used to treat rosacea, a chronic skin condition that causes redness and small bumps on the face. 

How does topical metronidazole work?

The exact mechanism by which topical metronidazole works to treat rosacea is unknown. However, it generally works by helping reduce inflammation. In turn, this helps decrease the redness, swelling, and bumps caused by rosacea.

Is metronidazole an antibiotic?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic. More specifically, it is classified as an antiprotozoal and antibacterial agent.

Metronidazole vs. azelaic acid

Metronidazole and azelaic acid are both topical medications commonly used to treat rosacea. However, metronidazole is classified as an antibiotic, while azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid. Azelaic acid can be found naturally in whole grains.

Metronidazole gel vs. cream

Topical metronidazole is available in the following formulations: gel, cream, and lotion. Although these formulations all have the same active ingredient, metronidazole, they all have different textures and price points. Metronidazole gel is often the most affordable option.


Active Ingredients

The active ingredient in topical metronidazole is metronidazole, in a strength of 7.5mg per gram.

Inactive Ingredients

The inactive ingredients of metronidazole topical gel include carbomer homopolymer type C, edetate disodium, detate disodium, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben, water, and sodium hydroxide. 

The inactive ingredients of metronidazole topical cream include emulsifying wax, sorbitol solution, glycerin, isopropyl palmitate, benzyl alcohol, lactic acid and/or sodium hydroxide, and purified water. 


Topical metronidazole dosage

For treating rosacea, topical metronidazole is often prescribed in a dosage of 0.75%.

How to use topical metronidazole for rosacea

To use topical metronidazole, start by washing your hands and the area that needs to be treated. Once the area has dried, apply a thin layer of the medication and rub it in. Apply twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening at the same times each day.

Please note this medication is for use on the skin only. You should avoid applying metronidazole around your eyes unless specifically directed to do so by your doctor. Try to wait at least five minutes after applying metronidazole, before applying any other products.

How fast does topical metronidazole work?

Topical metronidazole may take three weeks of use before any improvement is seen, and up to nine weeks to achieve its full effect. Use this medication consistently to get the most benefit from it.

How long should you use topical metronidazole?

Topical metronidazole should be used for as long as your doctor has prescribed it. To treat rosacea, it is typically prescribed to be used twice a day for two months. However, treatment can sometimes be longer.

Side Effects

Topical metronidazole side effects

Reported side effects of topical metronidazole include:

  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Skin irritation
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Metallic taste
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If any of these effects persist or get worse, report to your doctor right away. Please note that this is not a complete list of possible side effects. 

Topical metronidazole contraindications

Topical metronidazole should not be used by individuals with a history of hypersensitivity to metronidazole or any other ingredients in the formulation.


Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

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