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IJMDC. 2019; 3(7): 570-576

Topical corticosteroid phobia among patients with dermatological diseases

Ibrahim Al-Omair, Leena Emad Alghamdi, Deema Abdulwahab AlSadoun, Saad Altalhab, Abdulrahman Abdullah Al-Omair, Sara Mohamed Alkassimi.


Background: Topical corticosteroids (TCS) are widely prescribed for the treatment of dermatological diseases. Patients concerns and fear regarding the TCS are found to interfere with their compliance towards the treatment, resulting in relapses and poor outcome. The present study aimed to assess the patients’ origin and prevalence of TCS phobia, their knowledge about corticosteroids and their compliance towards the treatment.
Methodology: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Light and Derma Clinic in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during the period between 2018 and 2019. Patients with eczema, psoriasis, alopecia areata and vitiligo were asked to respond to a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire included socio-demographic data, data regarding the prevalence of TCS phobia, beliefs and behaviors, and sources of information concerning the safety and risks of TCS.
Results: Two hundred and three patients were included in this study. A fear from TCS was expressed by 80.8% of respondents with varying degrees. Multiple regression analysis showed that having eczema or vitiligo was significantly associated with a higher degree of fear. Most TCS–related concerns of the patients were about their safety.
Conclusion: TCS phobia was found widespread among patients with dermatological diseases. Most fears were related to safety issues. These fears were found to affect patient’s behaviors and hence their compliance towards the treatment. Providing public awareness and health education programs addressing the adverse effects of TCS and steps to avoid or decrease their usage could play a pivotal role in reducing TCS phobia. The study recommends the dermatologists to dedicate adequate time to provide health education to their patients.

Key words: Topical corticosteroids; Atopic dermatitis; Alopecia areata; Psoriasis; Vitiligo.

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