Prescriptions written for topical steroids should include explicit instructions about where and how often to apply the preparation, and the body areas where use must be avoided. Pharmacists should ensure these directions are included on the dispensing label. Prescribers should bear in mind that patients may keep unused or leftover corticosteroid skin preparations for some time after they are prescribed and thus forget the original indication or instructions for use. The prescribing of unnecessarily large quantities should be avoided. Patients should be warned not to share their topical steroid preparation with other people as this may result in unsafe application to unsuitable areas such as the face, as well as the potentially inappropriate treatment of undiagnosed skin conditions.
It is important to consult your doctor to discuss the possible risks of ceasing topical steroids. While adrenal suppression and HPA axis suppression generally resolve by ceasing topical steroid therapy, caution must be exercised. Stopping topical steroids when the adrenal glands are severely depressed can risk adrenal crisis, which is life-threatening. Your doctor can run tests to determine cortisol levels and adrenal function prior to cessation of topical steroids and can continue follow-up during your withdrawal. Reading relevant research from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals will help you learn more about this condition. Finding a support group or joining online communities may offer additional support.
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