Parents are reluctant to use topical steroids on their child's eczema because of unfounded fears about their side effects based on evidence from the 1960s, according to a consensus statement by 20 Australasian paediatric dermatologists issued this month.
Steroid phobia was based on old research that involved prolonged application of topical steroids under dressings applied to flexural areas. More recent data showed no evidence of skin atrophy with routine long-term use of topical steroids in children with eczema, the statement said.
However, according to the dermatologists, pharmacists were still issuing warnings about skin atrophy, with a recent study by one of the authors showing two-thirds (67%) of pharmacists told patients not to use topical steroids for more than two weeks at a time.
The misinformation meant children were commonly having to live with unnecessary and prolonged exacerbations of eczema, despite there being a highly effective treatment that had minimal adverse effects, they said.
"The advice given by dermatologists to parents of children with eczema regarding the use of topical steroids is unfortunately frequently undermined by other health professionals," they wrote in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology.
24 March, 2015