Article Text

Randomised controlled trial of topical kanuka honey for the treatment of rosacea
  1. Irene Braithwaite1,
  2. Anna Hunt1,
  3. Judith Riley1,
  4. James Fingleton1,
  5. Janwillem Kocks1,
  6. Andrew Corin2,
  7. Colin Helm2,
  8. Davitt Sheahan3,
  9. Christopher Tofield4,
  10. Barney Montgomery5,
  11. Mark Holliday1,
  12. Mark Weatherall6,
  13. Richard Beasley1
  1. 1Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand
  2. 2Clinical Horizons, Tauranga, New Zealand
  3. 3Papamoa Pines Medical Centre, Tauranga, New Zealand
  4. 4Cameron Medical Clinic, Tauranga, New Zealand
  5. 5Optimal Clinical Trials, Auckland, New Zealand
  6. 6University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Irene Braithwaite; Irene.braithwaite{at}


Objective To investigate the efficacy of topical 90% medical-grade kanuka honey and 10% glycerine (Honevo) as a treatment for rosacea.

Design Randomised controlled trial with blinded assessment of primary outcome variable.

Setting Outpatient primary healthcare population from 5 New Zealand sites.

Participants 138 adults aged ≥16, with a diagnosis of rosacea, and a baseline blinded Investigator Global Assessment of Rosacea Severity Score (IGA-RSS) of ≥2. 69 participants were randomised to each treatment arm. 1 participant was excluded from the Honevo group, and 7 and 15 participants withdrew from the Honevo and control groups, respectively.

Interventions Participants were randomly allocated 1:1 to Honevo or control cream (Cetomacrogol), applied twice daily for 8 weeks.

Main outcome measures The primary outcome measure was the proportion of participants who had a ≥2 improvement in the 7-point IGA-RSS at week 8 compared to baseline. Secondary outcomes included change in IGA-RSS and subject-rated visual analogue score of change in severity (VAS-CS) on a 100 mm scale (0 mm ‘much worse’, 100 mm ‘much improved’) at weeks 2 and 8.

Results 24/68 (34.3%) in the Honevo group and 12/69 (17.4%) in the control group had a ≥2 improvement in IGA-RSS at week 8 compared to baseline (relative risk 2.03; 95% CI 1.11 to 3.72, p=0.020). The change in IGA-RSS for Honevo compared to control at week 2 minus baseline was −1 (Hodges-Lehman estimate, 95% CI −1 to 0, p=0.03), and at week 8 minus baseline was −1 (Hodges-Lehman estimate, 95% CI −1 to 0, p=0.005). The VAS-CS at week 2 was 9.1 (95% CI 3.5 to 14.7), p=0.002, and at week 8 was 12.3 (95% CI 5.7 to 18.9)¸ p<0.001 for Honevo compared to control.

Conclusions Honevo is an effective treatment for rosacea.

Trial registration number This trial was registered in the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12614000004662.

  • Rosacea
  • Kanuka honey
  • randomised controlled trial

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