What is the role of topical steroids in the treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Cassandra Bradby, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Acute attacks should be treated by mid-high strength topical steroids for up to 2 weeks. Medium-to-high potency topical steroids should not be used on the face or neck area because of the potential adverse effects. These are preferred over low-mid strength medications, as they better control exacerbations. Patients should apply the ointment within 5 minutes of twice-daily bathing.

Inform the patient about adverse effects of topical steroids (eg, atrophy, hypopigmentation, striae, telangiectasia, thinning of the skin).


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