Topical steroids Benefits

We found two RCTs of potent topical steroids. The first study compared two potent topical steroids: 0-025% fluocinolone acetonide and 0-1% betamethasone valerate used for 3 weeks. Symmetrical skin lesions were used, and the participants were randomised to use the creams on the right or left side of the body. Betamethasone valerate appeared to be superior in 15 of 25 (60%) participants.34

In a 12-week crossover study, 0-05% fluocinonide (a potent steroid cream) was compared with 1% hydrocortisone (a low-potency steroid cream).35 After 6 weeks, an excellent response was seen in 10 of 37 people (27%) using fluocinonide and in 4 of 41 people (10%) using hydrocortisone cream. This suggests that high-potency steroid cream is more effective than low-potency steroid cream.

We found one controlled trial. Bjornberg and Hellgren used the symmetrical skin lesion design to compare fluocinolone acetonide with ointment base; 17 of 20 people (85%), showed greater improvement with the steroid than with base alone.36

We found six observational studies of topical steroids.37-42 A total of 263 people were treated in these trials, 220 (84%) of whom experienced complete clearing or marked improvement in the treated areas.

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