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Topical brimonidine reduces IPL-induced erythema without affecting efficacy: A randomized controlled trial in patients with facial telangiectasias

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BACKGROUND: Laser and intense pulsed light (IPL) are standard symptomatic treatments for superficial telangiectasias, but postoperative erythema, oedema, and pain may prolong downtime.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether topical brimonidine reduces IPL-induced inflammation in patients with moderate to severe facial telangiectasias.

METHODS: A randomized, two-centre, single-blinded, split-face trial on adjuvant brimonidine and air-cooling versus air-cooling alone (control) in 19 patients treated in Denmark (n = 10 patients) and Belgium (n = 9). Brimonidine was applied to the allocated side after each of three facial IPL-treatments, given at 3-week intervals. Patients were assessed up to 1 month after the final treatment. Outcome measures included blinded clinical on-site evaluation of erythema and oedema (5-point-scales), objective erythema-scores (red-filter analysis), patient-evaluated pain (Visual Analogue Scale), IPL-efficacy (blinded photo-evaluation of telangiectasia clearance), and patient preference.

RESULTS: In total, 19 patients were enrolled and completed the study. IPL induced moderate to severe erythema after each treatment. Application of brimonidine, reduced erythema to baseline values compared to air-cooling alone and sustained efficacy 24 hours after treatment (median difference reduction: score 1 at each assessment, P ≤ 0.022). Objective erythema-scores supported clinical findings, demonstrating a median erythema reduction of 50-95% after application of brimonidine and air-cooling compared to 9-28% reduction after air-cooling alone (P ≥ 0.002). No difference in reduction of IPL-induced oedema was observed between facial sides (P ≥ 0.227). Brimonidine and air-cooling slightly and consistently reduced postoperative pain compared to air-cooling alone (VAS 1.0 after brimonidine versus VAS 1.5-2.0 after air-cooling alone at treatment 1-3, P ≤ 0.032). At 1-month follow-up, patients experienced excellent clearance of telangiectasias (75-100% clearance) on both facial sides (P = 1.000). Patient preference supported clinical data and 79% of patients preferred brimonidine to control (P = 0.019).

CONCLUSION: Compared to air-cooling alone, adjuvant brimonidine reduces IPL-induced erythema and associated pain while maintaining a high IPL-efficacy. Lasers Surg. Med. 50:1002-1009, 2018. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

TidsskriftLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Udgave nummer10
Sider (fra-til)1002-1009
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2018

ID: 56270458