Contact Allergen of the Year: Corticosteroids

Marléne Isaksson; Magnus Bruze


Dermatitis. 2005;16(1):3-5. 

In This Article

Clinical Picture

The first issue is the clinical picture. Corticosteroid contact allergy is rarely suspected from the history of the patient or from the appearance of the dermatitis, which may be modified by the antiinflammatory action of the corticosteroid itself.[6] Any patient with a long-standing nonhealing dermatitis (such as stasis dermatitis,[7] atopic eczema, or chronic hand eczema) that has been treated with corticosteroids should at some time be investigated for corticosteroid allergy. A topically treated eczema may evolve into a chronic inflammatory skin lesion that may heal by itself if administration of the incriminating corticosteroid is stopped. Deterioration of a previous dermatitis, sometimes with spreading, may also be seen.[8,9,10,11,12,13] However, reactions that are more acute (such as a genital edema with erythema and vesicles,[14] erythema multiforme-like contact dermatitis,[15] generalized rashes,[16,17] angioedema of the face, and an acute oozing eczematous reaction after local corticosteroid treatment[10]) have also been reported.


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