Whether patients visit the dermatology clinic for a simple itch, rash, eczema flare or any other dermatoses, chances are providers will treat it with a topical steroid, systemic steroid, topical immunomodulator, topical phosphodiesterase type 4 (PDE 4) inhibitor or antihistamine.
Those are among the most common drugs that dermatologists prescribe or recommend, says Matthew J. Zirwas, M.D., who presented a comprehensive primer on the drug types at the October Maui Derm NP + PA Fall 2019 meeting in Asheville, N.C.
Yet, patients and even providers might not use them optimally, notes to Dr. Zirwas, who practices in Bexley, Ohio.
Topical steroids are a go-to drug for any kind of dermatitis or steroid-responsive dermatoses. The most important message to patients about topical steroids is that as long as patients use the medications correctly, they need not worry about skin thinning or other side effects, according to Dr. Zirwas.
“The vast majority of patients have topical steroid phobia, which is a fear of side effects from topical steroids. The fear is out of proportion to the actual risk of side effects from topical steroids,” he says. “One of the biggest reasons for treatment failure in dermatology is patients being afraid to use the topical medication because they have a phobia about the side effects.”
Dr. Zirwas has ties to Abbvie, Aerolase, Aclaris, Aructis, Asana, AsepticMD, AvillionDS, Biopharma, Fit Bit, Foamix, Genentech/Novartis, Incyte, Janssen, L’Oreal, Leo, Lilly, Menlo, Ortho Derm, Pfizer, Regeneron/Sanofi and UCB