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Neth J Med. 2002 Apr;60(3):148-50.

Cushing's syndrome caused by topical steroid therapy for psoriasis.

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Medical Centre Leeuwarden, Department of Internal Medicine, The Netherlands.


A 72-year-old woman developed manifestations of Cushing's syndrome after long-term topical steroid therapy for psoriasis. Shortly after tapering the dose of topical steroids she developed signs of adrenal insufficiency (provoked by a urinary tract infection) requiring intravenous administration of a stress dose of hydrocortisone. There have only been a few reports of systemic side effects of topically applied corticosteroids in adults. Considering their serious consequences physicians should be alert to signs of Cushing's syndrome in patients on long-term topical steroid therapy. Furthermore, clobetasol propionate ointment doses exceeding 50 g a week should not be prescribed and use of occlusive dressings should be avoided.

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