Rosacea and Parkinson Disease: Is There a Link?

Information sourced from BMJ:

BMJ 2016;352:i1660

Research News

Rosacea is linked to Parkinson’s disease in Danish study

Jacqui Wise


A significantly increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in patients with rosacea has been reported in a Danish study published in JAMA Neurology, but the authors say that further research is needed to confirm this observation.1

The cause of rosacea, a common chronic inflammatory condition of the skin, is unclear. However, increased activity of the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase seems to play an important role. Matrix metalloproteinases have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

The nationwide cohort study included 5 404 692 Danish citizens who were aged over 18 in 1997 and who were then followed up for 15 years. People with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or rosacea at the study’s start were excluded.

A total of 22 387 people received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease during the study period, with a mean age at diagnosis of 76, and 68 053 were registered as having rosacea, with a mean age of 42. The incidence rates of Parkinson’s disease were 3.54 per 10 000 person years in the study population and 7.62 per 10 000 person years in patients with rosacea. Parkinson’s disease also seemed to occur about 2.4 years earlier in patients with rosacea.

In the final model, which adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status, smoking, alcohol misuse, comorbidity, and drug treatments, the investigators found that people with rosacea had a significantly higher incidence risk ratio for Parkinson’s disease of 1.71 (95% confidence interval 1.52 to 1.92) per 10 000 person years. The results were similar in both sexes.

A twofold increased risk of Parkinson’s disease was seen in patients classified as having ocular rosacea (adjusted incidence risk ratio 2.03 (95% confidence interval 1.67 to 2.48)). Patients who were given tetracyclines, which are used to treat rosacea, seemed to have a slightly decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease, regardless of the presence of rosacea (0.98 (0.97 to 0.99)).

The authors said that the study cannot prove causation and that other factors may contribute to the association. They added that one of the study’s limitations was that patients with rosacea have more contact with doctors, which could prompt an early recognition of Parkinson’s disease.


01. Egeberg A, Hansen P, Gislason G, et al. Exploring the association between rosacea and Parkinson disease: a Danish nationwide cohort study. JAMA Neurol 2016; published online 21 Mar.
[PubMed® abstract]

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