Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

In most cases, pityriasis rosea goes away on its own in four to six weeks. If the rash doesn't disappear by then or if the itching is bothersome, a variety of treatments can help.


Certain medications can ease symptoms or shorten the duration of pityriasis rosea. Examples include:

  • Corticosteroids. Creams and ointments containing forms of cortisone can help ease itching and decrease redness.
  • Antihistamines. Over-the-counter allergy medicines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, others) also can reduce itching. If needed, stronger antihistamines are available by prescription.
  • Antiviral drugs. Medicines such as acyclovir (Zovirax) may reduce the duration of pityriasis rosea by one to two weeks.

Light therapy

Exposure to natural or artificial sunlight can help the rash fade. In some people, however, this therapy can cause lasting darkening in certain spots, even after the rash clears.

July 03, 2012

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.