Misuse of topical corticosteroids and attitude towards self-medication: a rising alarm


  • Savita Chaudhary Era's Lucknow Medical College




Topical corticosteroids, Topical steroid damaged face, Over the counter, Outpatient department, Self-medication


Background:Topical corticosteroids (TC) are among the most commonly used medications for treatment of skin disorders. They give immediate relief from symptoms in many inflammatory dermatoses. Even inappropriate use in infectious dermatoses relieves the symptoms. This study was done to analyze the misuse of topical corticosteroids in Indian population and to analyze the attitude of patients towards self-medication.

Methods:All patients presenting with various dermatoses to the investigator were asked about history of usage of any topical medication on the lesion. In case of a positive answer, the investigator ascertained whether the topical medication in question contained a corticosteroid. The total number of patients seen during the recruitment period (January 2012 – December 2012) was noted on a separate list. Full questionnaires were only filled for patients with history of using topical corticosteroids.

Results:5256 patients were screened out of which 4100 (78%) were already using topical medications. 3154 (60%) patients were using topical steroid in various forms. About 80% of the patients using topical steroids confessed that they have not consulted qualified medical practitioner. They were advised these medications by chemists, friends or quacks, neighbours, barbers, beauticians etc.

Conclusions:Misuse of topical corticosteroids is common in Indian population and results in various complications. Educating public, chemists, general practitioners along with strict vigil by law enforcing agencies is needed for optimal and safe use of corticosteroids.

Author Biography

Savita Chaudhary, Era's Lucknow Medical College

Department of Dermatology

Associate Professor


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Original Research Articles