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Cutis. 1997 Mar;59(3):151-3.

Effect of desonide ointment, 0.05%, on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of children with atopic dermatitis.

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  • 1Dermatology Research Associates, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.


Desonide ointment has demonstrated a good safety and efficacy profile during the many years it has been used in treating dermatoses. However, there have been no controlled clinical trials to evaluate its systemic safety when used in treating children. Suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis can occur after repeated application of topical corticosteroids. In general, the degree of suppression of the HPA axis function is related to the daily dosage of steroid given, the duration of its administration, the extent of body surface covered, and the potency of the corticosteroid. This study sought to determine the comparative effects of 0.05 percent desonide and 2.5 percent hydrocortisone ointments on the HPA axis of children with atopic dermatitis. There was no suppression of early morning cortisol in either treatment group. The ACTH-stimulated mean cortisol values after four weeks of treatment were not significantly different from the baseline values for either treatment group. We conclude that neither 0.05 percent desonide ointment nor 2.5 percent hydrocortisone ointment compromised the HPA axis of children with atopic dermatitis treated topically for four weeks.

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