Use and abuse of systemic corticosteroid therapy

Frances J. Storrs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Steroid-responsive acute dermatoses should be treated with a single morning dose of prednisone for approximately 2 weeks. It is not necessary to “taper” a short course of oral prednisone given by this method. Chronic dermatoses should be treated whenever possible with prednisone used in the morning and on alternate days. This method is effective, is free of most side effects, and suppresses the HPA axis minimally. There are few real advantages in using intramuscular corticosteroids. TAC is an unusually strong suppressor of the HPA axis. For chronic dermatoses, a less suppressive preparation might best be chosen if the physician feels that the intramuscular route is the most reasonable one. In any event, TAC should never be used more often than every two months. Finally, the time-course of HPA recovery following short courses of steroids is presently unknown. Nonetheless, some astute critics of steroid metabolism have felt obliged to advise us that individuals who have received from 1 to 4 weeks of suppressive steroid treatment should be suspect as to the integrity of their HPA axis in stressful situations for up to one year. The withdrawal from, as well as the use of, systemic corticosteroids requires a creative and critical physician.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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