The pathology of rosacea is thought to involve neurogenic inflammation as well as abnormality of the neurovascular system. However, since the pathology of rosacea is not clearly understood, studies are currently underway to investigate the condition as well as its association with other diseases.
Migraine and rosacea
Migraine typically presents as a chronic headache which occurs in bouts, with symptom-free periods inbetween. The headache bouts may be preceded by a phase of nausea and vomiting and an individual may also see bright, coloured, flashing lights called aura. Patients are usually extremely sensitive to light.
Migraine has also been associated with vascular changes within the head and local inflammatory changes, facts that have lead researchers to investigate whether rosacea and migraine have a shared pathology. However, although the vasoconstrictive and antiinflammatory effects of triptans have been found to relieve migraines, there is still no such cure for rosacea.
One case-controlled study of 53,927 rosacea patients who were identified using a UK database between 1995 and 2009, showed that women (but not men) were significantly more likely to develop rosacea if they had previously experienced migraines. This association was even stronger across increasing age groups, particularly among women with severe migraine that required treatment with triptan.
Research into the association between rosacea and migraine and any joint benefit of potential medications continues.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc