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[Effect of topical glucocorticoids on endogenous cortisol production]

Author(s): Neumann RA, Schmidt JB, Spona J

Affiliation(s): II. Universitats-Hautklinik Wien.

Publication date & source: 1988-04-15, Z Hautkr., 63(4):302-8.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

In a randomized double blind study, we investigated the systemic effects of 3 different ointments containing corticoids. Every 7 patients out of a total of 21 patients suffering from various skin diseases were daily treated with 40 g of one of the 3 corticoid preparations over 8 days (group A: 0.05% clobetasol-17-propionate; group B: 0.25% fluocortolone trimethyl acetate; group C: 0.25% fluocortolone trimethyl acetate + 0.25% fluocortolone capronate). The plasma cortisol levels were determined by radioimmune assay. In group B and C, we did not observe any effect on the pituitary-adrenal axis, whereas in group A the plasma cortisol levels were extremely low already after 1 day of corticoid application. This adrenal suppression did not return to normal within 4 days after discontinuation of the corticoid. Our results suggest that highly potent topical corticoids are capable of adrenal suppression even without occlusive dressing and even in healthy persons.

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