Topical steroids used for eczema

The doctor may suggest hospitalization simply because it may be necessary to break the cycle of chronic inflammation, or other problems that are exacerbating the illness. Frequently, five or six days of vigorous in-hospital treatment care can result in a dramatic clearing of the eczema. Food tests, allergy skin testing, and the development of an outpatient therapy plan can all be done during the hospitalization. Unfortunately, getting approval from insurers is often difficult. During an acute flare the number of 15-20 minute baths must be increased to three or four per day. Besides hydrating the skin, baths also increase the penetration of topical medication up to ten-fold if the medicine is applied immediately after the bath. Wet wraps after baths may also help hydration and medicinal penetration. Bedtime wet wraps are most practical, and can be done with elasticized gauze followed by ace bandages or double pajamas. (The first pair of pajamas is worn damp but not soaking wet, and a second pair of dry pajamas is worn over them. For a tighter fit, sometimes a plastic sauna suit is used instead of the dry pajamas.) For feet and hands, socks can be used. Additional blankets or increased room heat may be necessary during this three to seven days to prevent chilling.

The most common side effect of topical corticosteroid use is skin atrophy. All topical steroids can induce atrophy, but higher potency steroids, occlusion, thinner skin, and older patient age increase the risk. The face, the backs of the hands, and intertriginous areas are particularly susceptible. Resolution often occurs after discontinuing use of these agents, but it may take months. Concurrent use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A) % may reduce the incidence of atrophy from chronic steroid applications. 30 Other side effects from topical steroids include permanent dermal atrophy, telangiectasia, and striae.

Radiation dermatitis often presents as a problem for patients and radiotherapists during treatment. Topical corticosteroids have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in the treatment of many skin diseases and are commonly prescribed during a course of radiation treatment. A comparison of two different steroid creams, 1% hydrocortisone cream and % clobetasone butyrate (Eumovate), in a double blind trial was carried out in 54 patients undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer. 'The cream' was administered when patients reached a given dose of 2000 rad (or earlier if required) whether a skin reaction was present or not. The aim of the trial was to evaluate the general effectiveness of steroids in controlling radiation dermatitis and whether one type of cream was superior to the other. The majority of patients using either cream derived benefit in its soothing effect. There was, however, a significant difference in the intensity of reactions seen, patients using clobetasone butyrate developed more severe radiation reactions despite both groups having similar radiation doses. The possibility of two differing populations having different responses to radiation is discussed as is the 'breakthrough phenomenon' described in the literature. It is concluded that neither cream should be used as first choice in the control of radiation dermatitis.

Conditions which augment systemic absorption include the application of the more potent steroids, use over large surface areas, prolonged use, and the addition of occlusive dressings. Therefore, patients receiving a large dose of a potent topical steroid applied to a large surface area or under an occlusive dressing should be evaluated periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression by using the urinary free cortisol and ACTH stimulation tests. If HPA axis suppression is noted, an attempt should be made to withdraw the drug, to reduce the frequency of application, or to substitute a less potent steroid.

Contact lens wear can be an inflammatory influence under normal circumstances, but an alreadysensitized cornea can show rebound inflammation if proper steps aren’t taken. It is imperative to use the immunosuppressive benefits of steroids with a slow taper as contact lens wear is resumed, or the patient will suffer setbacks and require multiple office visits. We typically restart limited contact lens wear when the rehabilitating cornea can tolerate a limited steroid dosage of once to twice daily.

Topical steroids used for eczema

topical steroids used for eczema

Conditions which augment systemic absorption include the application of the more potent steroids, use over large surface areas, prolonged use, and the addition of occlusive dressings. Therefore, patients receiving a large dose of a potent topical steroid applied to a large surface area or under an occlusive dressing should be evaluated periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression by using the urinary free cortisol and ACTH stimulation tests. If HPA axis suppression is noted, an attempt should be made to withdraw the drug, to reduce the frequency of application, or to substitute a less potent steroid.

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