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Topical Steroids

What are topical steroids? Topical steroids are anti-inflammatory medications that are applied topically, rather than taken by mouth or by injection like other corticosteroids.  Topical steroids are used to treat conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and many other rashes. Are all topical steroids the same? Topical steroids come in many formulations and are organized into classes by their vasoconstrictive properties.  The proper steroid is chosen for each patient based on not only the condition being treated, but the area of the body on which the medication is being used.  Over-the-counter cortisone cream is in Class 7 and considered safe to use sparingly on any part of the body in adults.  Steroids in Class 1, such as clobetasol propionate, are the strongest of the topical steroids.  Topical steroids in Classes 1-6 are available by prescription only. What are some examples of prescription topical steroids? There are many formulations of topical steroids.  Each topical steroid can also come in many forms, such as a cream, gel or ointment.  The different formulations of the topical steroids can change their potency and their effectiveness.  Examples of prescription topical steroids are: Desonide, Cloderm, Cutivate, Triamcinolone, Elocon, Vanos, Fluocinonide, Fluocinolone, Clobetasol, Cordran, Hydrocortisone, Clobex, Betamethasone and Locoid. How should I use topical steroid cream? Topical steroid creams have specific instructions for use, depending on the condition and the area of the body being treated.  Your dermatologist will review exactly how to use the topical steroid cream that they have prescribed for you.  Topical steroids are not meant to be used continuously over a long period of time, they are most commonly used in an “on and off” fashion or for short periods of time.

Schweiger Dermatology

110 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
212.283.3000
contact@schweigerderm.com

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