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CORTICOSTEROIDS Low Potency (Topical)
Some commonly used brand names are:
In the U.S.—
Other commonly used names are:
Topical corticosteroids (kor-ti-ko-STER-oyds) are used to help relieve redness, swelling, itching, and discomfort of many skin problems. These medicines are like cortisone. They belong to the general family of medicines called steroids.
Most corticosteroids are available only with your doctor"s prescription. Some strengths of hydrocortisone are available without a prescription. However, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper use for your medical condition.
Topical corticosteroids are available in the following dosage forms:
Before Using This Medicine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For topical corticosteroids, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to corticosteroids. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.
Pregnancy—When used properly, these medicines have not been shown to cause problems in humans. Studies on birth defects have not been done in humans. However, studies in animals have shown that topical corticosteroids, when applied to the skin in large amounts or used for a long time, could cause birth defects.
Breast-feeding—Topical corticosteroids have not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies when used properly. However, corticosteroids should not be applied to the breasts just before nursing.
Children—Children and teenagers who must use this medicine for a long time should be checked often by their doctor. Other, more potent corticosteroids are absorbed through the skin and can affect growth or cause other unwanted effects. Topical corticosteroids also can be absorbed if they are applied to large areas of skin. These effects are less likely to occur with the use of the lower potency corticosteroids. However, before using this medicine in children, you should discuss its use with your child"s doctor.
Older adults—This medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.
Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other topical prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine that is to be applied to the same area of the skin.
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of topical corticosteroids. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
Be very careful not to get this medicine in your eyes. Wash your hands after using your finger to apply the medicine. If you accidentally get this medicine in your eyes, flush them with water.
Do not bandage or otherwise wrap the skin being treated unless directed to do so by your doctor.
If your doctor has ordered an occlusive dressing (airtight covering, such as kitchen plastic wrap or a special patch) to be applied over this medicine, make sure you know how to apply it. Since occlusive dressings increase the amount of medicine absorbed through your skin and the possibility of side effects, use them only as directed. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
For patients using the topical aerosol form of this medicine:
Do not use this medicine more often or for a longer time than your doctor ordered or than recommended on the package label . To do so may increase the chance of absorption through the skin and the chance of side effects.
If this medicine has been prescribed for you, it is meant to treat a specific skin problem. Do not use it for other skin problems, and do not use nonprescription hydrocortisone for skin problems that are not listed on the package label, without first checking with your doctor . Topical corticosteroids should not be used on many kinds of bacterial, viral, or fungal skin infections.
Dosing—The dose of topical corticosteroid will be different for different patients and products. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label .
Missed dose—If your doctor has ordered you to use this medicine on a regular schedule and you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible. But if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and apply it at the next regularly scheduled time.
Storage—To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
Check with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve within 1 week or if your condition gets worse.
Avoid using tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants on a child if this medicine is being used on the child"s diaper area. Plastic pants and tight-fitting diapers may increase the chance of absorption of the medicine through the skin and the chance of side effects.
Side Effects of This Medicine
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Less common or rare
Blood-containing blisters on skin; burning and itching of skin; increased skin sensitivity; lack of healing of skin condition; numbness in fingers; painful, red or itchy, pus-containing blisters in hair follicles; raised, dark red, wart-like spots on skin, especially when used on the face; skin infection; thinning of skin with easy bruising
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Less common or rare—usually mild and transient
Burning, dryness, irritation, itching, or redness of skin; increased redness or scaling of skin sores; skin rash
When the gel, lotion, solution, or aerosol form of this medicine is applied, a mild, temporary stinging may be expected.
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
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