Multiple sclerosis risk has been found to be higher in rosacea-affected women. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen who found a higher risk of multiple sclerosis in women with rosacea, compared to women without the skin condition.
The study looked at patients diagnosed with rosacea between January 1997 and December 2011. Each of the subjects was matched with five controls, with 6,759 rosacea patients and 33,795 controls in total.
The researchers then identified patients with multiple sclerosis and found that rosacea patients had a 1.5-fold increased risk of multiple sclerosis, compared to those without rosacea. When the participants were divided by gender, the association was only seen in women.
The study only observed the trend and cannot establish a cause-and-effect relationship. Additional research is required to uncover the underlying mechanisms that could be contributing to the association.
An alternative study found that skin problems could be caused by a common treatment method for multiple sclerosis known as interferon-β. Interferon-β is prescribed as a means to suppress the immune system, which wrongfully attacks the myelin and thus promotes the onset of multiple sclerosis.
Like many other medications, interferon-β comes along with some side effects, so weighing out the pros and cons of these side effects could help determine if the medication is worth it or not.
The researchers found that side effects of interferon-β could affect the skin, more specifically, cause new-onset psoriasis.
The researchers suggest that physicians need to take this side effect into account when prescribing interferon-β to their patients. The authors concluded, “We think that neurologists should be aware of systemic cutaneous side effects and have a closer look on interferon-associated skin lesions. Detection of psoriasiform lesions might indicate that interferons are probably not beneficial in the individual situation. We suggest that skin lesions may serve as biomarkers to allocate MS patients to adequate disease-modifying drugs.”
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