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Metronidazole gel is mostly commonly used for treating acne, lesions, and other skin problems related to rosacea. The drug can also be used to treat bacterial vaginosis. It is sold under the product name Metrogel®.
The chronic skin disease rosacea is primarily indicated by swelling and redness on the face, though it can affect the scalp, back, chest, and neck. It can also spread to the ears and eyes. Metronidazole gel helps to reduce the inflammation and redness caused by rosacea, though it cannot be used near the eye area.
Bacterial vaginosis is a condition where the vagina produces an excess of bacteria. Though the condition may not have any visible symptoms, when they do manifest themselves they typically include extra production of vaginal discharge and a fishy odor in the vaginal area. Metronidazole gel is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for bacterial vaginosis. The drug can also be prescribed in pill form, which is believed to be more effective, but also tends to have more side effects. Though the gel does not usually have side effects, it can increase the chances of developing yeast vaginosis.
Metronidazole gel is usually clear or nearly colorless. For treatment of rosacea, a thin layer of the gel is applied to all affected areas and then carefully rubbed into the skin. Usually a special cleanser is included with the prescription, so that the area can be washed and dried before application of the gel.
For treatment of bacterial vaginosis, metronidazole comes in an applicator which is used to insert the medication into the vagina. The gel is typically prescribed to be administered one to two times daily and usually with one or the only treatment being taken before bedtime. A standard treatment cycle will last five days.
In addition to the potential for yeast vaginosis for patients using metronidazole gel for bacterial vaginosis, there are several other rare side effects. These include nausea, vomiting, rash, and diarrhea. Patients may also experience discomfort in the pelvic area or bloating and gas in the abdomen.
Using metronidazole for rosacea can also lead to several side effects. The mildest of these are discomfort at the site of application, which may include dryness, itching, stinging, scaling, or a mild burning sensation. There are also more severe side effects, which should be immediately reported to a medical professional. These include more intense or prolonged incidents of discomfort at the application site and numbness or tingling in the extremities. Some patients may also experience a serious allergic reaction to the drug, which can include swelling, a tight chest, and breathing difficulties.
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