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Metronidazole gel and cream

Anabact, Metrogel, Rozex

Unless you are told otherwise by your doctor, use the gel/cream twice a day after gently washing the affected area.

Keep out of strong sunlight and do not use sunbeds, as the treated areas of your skin may become more sensitive than usual.

If your skin becomes irritated or dry, reduce the number of times you apply the preparation for a few days until your skin recovers.

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What are metronidazole gel and cream used for?

Type of medicine

An antimicrobial skin preparation

Used for

Rosacea; infected skin ulcers and wounds

Also called

Acea®; Anabact®; Metrosa®; Metrogel®; Rosiced®; Rozex®

Available as

Cream and gel

You will have been prescribed metronidazole gel or cream to apply to your skin for one of two completely different reasons - you will either have rosacea on your face, or you will have an infected wound that has an unpleasant smell.

Most brands of metronidazole gels and creams can be used to treat a skin condition called rosacea (sometimes referred to as acne rosacea). Rosacea is a skin condition that affects parts of your face. Symptoms of rosacea include flushing, redness, and small lumpy red spots. Although it can look similar to acne, it is, however, a completely different condition. Treatment of rosacea with metronidazole can last from six weeks to several months.

Two of the brands of metronidazole gel (called Anabact® and Metrogel®) are used to reduce unpleasant odours from an infected wound, such as a skin ulcer. If you have been prescribed metronidazole gel for this reason, your treatment will last for as long as is needed to control your symptoms.

This document does not give information about metronidazole when it is taken by mouth for an infection, or when it is used for vaginosis. More information on these topics is available in separate medicine leaflets, respectively called Metronidazole for infection and Metronidazole vaginal gel for treating bacterial vaginosis.

Before using metronidazole

To make sure that this is the right treatment for you, before you start using metronidazole gel it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding - metronidazole cream and gel are not known to be harmful to babies, but it is still important that you tell your doctor about this.

  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or to any skin preparation.

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How to use metronidazole gel and cream

  • Before you start using metronidazole gel or cream, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about the brand of metronidazole prescribed for you to use, and it will also provide you with a full list of side-effects which you could experience from using it.

  • Unless you have been told otherwise by your doctor, use the gel/cream twice daily if you are using it for rosacea. Use it in the morning and the evening, by applying a thin layer to the affected area and rubbing it in gently. Take care not to get any cream/gel into your eyes or your mouth or the inside of your nostrils, as it could cause irritation in these areas. If this does happen, wash it off with warm water as soon as you are able.

  • If you are using metronidazole gel for a skin ulcer or wound, you will probably be advised to apply it once or twice daily after the area has been cleaned. Usually, your doctor will arrange for this to be done for you by a nurse.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Try to keep any regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.

  • Metronidazole can cause your skin to become more sensitive to sunlight than usual. Protect treated areas of skin from strong sunlight, and do not use sunbeds.

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Can metronidazole gel or cream cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common ones associated with metronidazole skin gel and cream. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any continue or become troublesome.

Metronidazole gel or cream side-effects (these affect fewer than 1 in 10 people)

What can I do if I experience this?

Skin irritation, skin dryness

Apply less of the preparation, or use it less often until the irritation has settled

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the metronidazole cream or gel, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

How to store metronidazole gel and cream

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.

  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Important information about all medicines

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, please tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking or using.

This preparation is for use on the skin only. If someone swallows some of it by accident, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

The medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Report side effects to a medicine or vaccine

If you experience side effects, you can report them online through the Yellow Card website.

Further reading and references

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

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