The following local adverse reactions are reported infrequently when topical corticosteroids are used as recommended. These reactions are listed in an approximately decreasing order of occurrence: burning, itching, irritation, dryness, folliculitis, hypertrichosis, acneiform eruptions, hypopigmentation, perioral dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, maceration of the skin, secondary infection, skin atrophy, striae, and miliaria. Systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids has produced reversible HPA axis suppression, manifestations of Cushing syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria in some patients. In rare instances, treatment (or withdrawal of treatment) of psoriasis with corticosteroids is thought to have exacerbated the disease or provoked the pustular form of the disease, so careful patient supervision is recommended.
References: 1. Bikowski J, Pillai R, Shroot B. The position not the presence of the halogen in corticosteroids influences potency and side effects. J Drugs Dermatol . 2006;5(2):125-130. 2. Del Rosso J, Friedlander SF. Corticosteroids: options in the era of steroid-sparing therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol . 2005; 53(1 Suppl 1):s50-s58. 3. US Food and Drug Administration NDA 017765. Promius Pharma, LLC, Princeton, NJ: Aug 1977. 4. Rosenthal AL. Clocortolone pivalate: a paired comparison clinical trial of a new topical steroid in eczema/atopic dermatitis. Cutis . 1980;25(1):96-98. 5. Kircik LH. A study to assess the occlusivity and moisturization potential of three topical corticosteroid products using the skin trauma after razor shaving (STARS) bioassay. J Drugs Dermatol . 2014;13(5):582-585. 6. Cloderm [package insert]. Princeton, NJ: Promius Pharma, LLC; 2017.
Corticosteroids are generally teratogenic in laboratory animals when administered systemically at relatively low dosage levels. The more potent corticosteroids have been shown to be teratogenic after dermal application in laboratory animals. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women on teratogenic effects from topically applied corticosteroids. Therefore, topical corticosteroids should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Drugs of this class should not be used extensively on pregnant patients, in large amounts, or for prolonged periods of time.