Corticosteroids for Kids’ Eczema May Not Hurt Skin
Study Suggests Fears of Scarring After Long-Term Treatment May Be Unfounded
Corticosteroids: Use as Directed
Not all experts agree, however, that the study is a definitive declaration of corticosteroid safety.
“I think it’s hard to generalize from the study that’s done,” says James R. Treat, MD, a pediatric dermatologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “They don’t give us quite enough information to make our own decisions about whether topical steroids aren’t harmful.”
Treat points out that the study involved a relatively small number of patients and doesn’t fully detail their ages, the doses they were prescribed, or how long the corticosteroids were used.
“And I think all of that data is really needed to show whether there is danger or not, because probably, the longer you use a stronger topical steroid on one area, the more likely it is to cause atrophy [skin thinning]. And without that data from the article, it’s harder to generalize it to everyone’s practice,” Treat says.
Experts, including the study’s researchers, say appropriate use to better ensure safety includes things like using the lowest doses that will bring the eczema under control, using the right dose for the right body part -- since some parts of the body absorb medications more easily than others -- and applying the medication only as directed by a doctor.