Conditions which augment systemic absorption include the application of the more potent steroids, use over large surface areas, prolonged use, and the addition of occlusive dressings. Therefore, patients receiving a large dose of a potent topical steroid applied to a large surface area or under an occlusive dressing should be evaluated periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression by using the urinary free cortisol and ACTH stimulation tests. If HPA axis suppression is noted, an attempt should be made to withdraw the drug, to reduce the frequency of application, or to substitute a less potent steroid.
Sixty-three pediatric patients ages 1 to 12 years, with atopic dermatitis, were enrolled in an open-label, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis safety study. Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream was applied twice daily for 2 to 3 weeks over a mean body surface area of 40% (range 35% to 90%). In 10 of 43 (23%) evaluable patients, adrenal suppression was indicated by either a ≤ 5 mcg/dL pre-stimulation cortisol, or a cosyntropin post-stimulation cortisol ≤ 18 mcg/dL and/or an increase of < 7 mcg/dL from the baseline cortisol. Studies performed with Betamethasone Dipropionate Cream indicate that it is in the medium range of potency as compared with other topical corticosteroids.
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