Select Page

Rarely, severe adverse effects can occur on stopping treatment with topical corticosteroids, often after long-term continuous or inappropriate use of moderate to high potency products. To reduce the risks of these events, prescribe the topical corticosteroid of lowest potency needed and ensure patients know how to use it safely and effectively.

  • topical corticosteroids are used on the skin to reduce inflammation; when used correctly, they are safe and effective treatments for skin disorders
  • always apply topical corticosteroids as instructed and consult the Patient Information Leaflet provided with your medicine
  • seek medical advice before using a topical corticosteroid on a new body area as some areas of the body are more prone to side effects
  • very infrequent cases of severe skin reactions have been reported in long-term users of topical corticosteroids after they stop using them (see Patient Safety Leaflet on topical steroid withdrawal reactions)
  • if your skin worsens within 2 weeks of stopping a topical corticosteroid, do not start treatment again without consulting your doctor, unless they have previously advised you should do so
  • as well as the known side effects associated with using too much of a topical corticosteroid or with using it for too long, remember that using too little can prolong treatment time and increase the risk of certain adverse effects
  • ask your prescriber or pharmacist if you have any questions about your medicines or are concerned about side effects – you can also report suspected side effects to the Yellow Card scheme
Safety leaflet on topical corticosteroids and withdrawal reactions to help patients and their carers to use these medicines safely.

This information is being shared with our patients and carers following an MHRA drug safety update issued on 15th September 2021