Drug Safety

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 406–412

Topical Corticosteroids and Unwanted Local Effects

Improving the Benefit/Risk Ratio


  • Moira Mori
    • Dermatology Clinic IIUniversity of Florence
  • Nicola Pimpinelli
    • Dermatology Clinic IIUniversity of Florence
  • Benvenuto Giannotti
    • Dermatology Clinic IIUniversity of Florence
Review Article Risk-Benefit Assessment

DOI: 10.2165/00002018-199410050-00005

Cite this article as:
Mori, M., Pimpinelli, N. & Giannotti, B. Drug-Safety (1994) 10: 406. doi:10.2165/00002018-199410050-00005


The main goal of pharmacological research in the field of topical corticosteroids (TCs) is to dissociate efficacy and adverse effects as much as possible. The optimal use of TCs, i.e. the careful evaluation of the benefit/risk ratio, depends on: (i) the chemical structure of the TC; (ii) the type of vehicle; (iii) the mode of application; and (iv) the features of the skin to be treated. The recent availability of TCs characterised by a good dissociation between efficacy and adverse effects makes the classic and widely used classification system of TCs based upon potency out of date. Indeed, TCs with increasing potency have been characterised up to now, as a rule, by an increasing risk of adverse effects. Therefore, a classification system taking into major account the benefit/risk ratio seems particularly needed for clinical use in dermatology.

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© Adis International Limited 1994