Topical Corticosteroids

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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What are topical corticosteroids?

Corticosteroid hormones are naturally occurring hormones produced by the adrenal glands within the body. Topical corticosteroids are synthetic (man-made) corticosteroid medications used for treating skin conditions such as rash, dermatitis, itching, eczema, and psoriasis. Topical corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory actions and also suppress the immune response. Topical corticosteroids are used based on their potency, the area of the body to which they will be applied, and type of skin condition being treated.

What are examples topical corticosteroids of available in the US?

Topical corticosteroids are grouped according to their potency:

  1. Very high potency: betamethasone dipropionate Diprolene), clobetasol propionate (Clobex, Temovate, Olux), diflorasone diacetate, fluocinonide (Vanos), and halobetasol propionate (Ultravate).
  2. High potency: amcinonide (Cylocort), desoximetasone (Topicort, Topicort LP), halcinonide (Halog), and triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog).
  3. Medium potency: betamethasone valerate (Luxiq), clocortolone pivalate (Cloderm), fluocinolone acetonide (Synalar), flurandrenolide (Cordran), fluocinonide (Lidex), fluticasone propionate (Cutivate), hydrocortisone butyrate (Locoid), hydrocortisone valerate (Westcort), mometasone furoate (Elocon), and prednicarbate (Dermatop).
  4. Low potency: alclometasone dipropionate (Aclovate), desonide (Desowen, Verdeso), and hydrocortisone (Hytone).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2014

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