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Corticosteroids: options in the era of steroid-sparing therapy.

Author(s): Del Rosso J, Friedlander SF

Affiliation(s): Department of Dermatology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

Publication date & source: 2005-07, J Am Acad Dermatol., 53(1 Suppl 1):S50-8.

Publication type: Review

Topical corticosteroids remain the most commonly used topical treatments for inflammatory dermatoses, including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Topical corticosteroids are available in a variety of vehicles-creams, ointments, lotions, gels, and, more recently, foam. The vehicle used can substantially affect the individual agent's clinical action, potency, and acceptability to the patient. Moreover, some vehicles are better suited for specific body areas. Selection of the appropriate product should be determined by area of usage, physician experience, cost, and patient preference, particularly regarding vehicle. Although topical corticosteroids are associated with several side effects, including skin atrophy, telangiectases, purpura, and striae formation, appropriate usage can minimize these occurrences. Judicious use includes short-term, appropriate application as initial monotherapy or in combination strategies with other therapeutic agents that ideally possess complementing mechanisms of action. Examples include pulsing with high-potency topical corticosteroids and combination regimens with other topical agents such as topical calcineurin inhibitors, calcipotriene, or tazarotene. Appropriate education of patients and caregivers alike will facilitate the optimal use of these medications.

Page last updated: 2006-02-01

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