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Self administration of topical steroids in face: A cross-sectional study from a tertiary care hospital in Northeast India

Shromona Kar, Bhaskar Gupta, Gazala Khanam Barbhuiya

Abstract: Topical steroid (TS) creams are easily available in pharmacies all over India, as OTC (over the counter) drugs. So are easily being misused even without the dermatologist’s prescription, which leads to side effects pertaining to the lack of awareness about the contraindications and adverse effects of the topical steroids. This was a cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study, conducted from July 2021 to December 2021, at the outpatient Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, of a tertiary care hospital in North East India. Patients of both sexes (males and females), 15 years onwards were included in this study who presented with any kind of facial dermatoses resulting from use of topical steroid on face. Out of 300 patients who misused TS, majority were females (72%). The most common brand used was Betnovate C which contained betamethasone (0.1% w/w) & clioquinol (3% w/w). The average duration of use was less than 6 months (51%), shortest being 15 days and longest being 4 years. The most common reason for misuse was acne (38%) followed by fairness (22%) and the most common effect observed after misuse was acne form eruptions (25%) followed by dyspigmentation (16%). Most of the users had attained education till primary school. Abuse was commonly from purchase of the drug OTC or from pharmacists. As steroid abuse is increasing alarmingly, awareness about its various adverse effects becomes necessary.
Keywords: misused / abuse / acne / w/w / easily / topical steroids / care / OTC / hospital

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