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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 77  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 160--166

Topical corticosteroid abuse on the face: A prospective, multicenter study of dermatology outpatients


1 Indushree Skin Clinic, Lucknow, India
2 Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, Kolkata, India
3 Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, India
4 Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh, India
5 Vivekananda Institute of Medical Sciences, Kolkata, India
6 RNT Medical College, Udaipur, India
7 KPC Medical College, Kolkata, India
8 Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, India
9 Bishen Skin Centre, Aligarh, India
10 St. John's Medical College, Bangalore, India
11 Nirvana Skin Clinic, Vadodara, India
12 PSG Hospitals, Coimbatore, India

Correspondence Address:
Abir Saraswat
B 7, Indira Nagar, Lucknow - 226 016
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0378-6323.77455

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Background: Abuse of topical corticosteroids (TC), especially over the face, is prevalent worldwide, including in India. Data about the magnitude of this problem in our country is lacking. Aims: The aims of this study were to ascertain the demographics, magnitude and clinical features of TC misuse on the face in the dermatology outpatient department (OPD) attendees in order to raise awareness about this problem and to analyze its causes. Methods: This was a prospective multicenter questionnaire-based clinical study conducted at 12 dermatology centers nationwide. Patients with relevant facial dermatoses reporting to the investigator were asked about their current use of over-the-counter topical formulations and a structured questionnaire applied in case the same was confirmed to be TC. Results: A total of 2926 patients with facial dermatoses were screened, of which 433 (14.8%) were using TC. TC was used as a fairness/general purpose cream or aftershave in 126 (29%) and in 104 (24%) for acne. Steroid combinations were used by 258 (59.6%). Potent and super-potent TC were significantly (P = 0.05) more frequently used by the rural/suburban population. The younger age groups used more potent formulations. A non-physician recommendation for TC use was obtainable in 257 (59.3%) patients. Of these, 232 (90.3%) were for potent/super-potent steroids. Among 176 physician prescriptions, 78 (44.3%) were from non-dermatologists. All non-physician prescriptions and 146 (83%) physician prescriptions for TC were inappropriately refilled. Adverse effects were seen in 392 (90.5%) TC users. Acne/exacerbation of acne was the most common adverse effect. Conclusions: TC misuse in patients with facial dermatoses is quite common, and most of this use is unwarranted. Use as a fairness cream is the most common indication in this cohort. Limitations: This was an OPD-based study and, therefore, it may or may not accurately reflect the community data.






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