, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 267-277
Date: 13 Aug 2012

Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment of the Benefit-Risk Ratio of Medium Potency Topical Corticosteroids In Vitro and In Vivo

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Corticosteroids are widely used for the treatment of inflammatory skin disorders. However, systemic and local adverse drug reactions, especially skin atrophy, are potential complications that limit their use. Several attempts have been made to increase the safety of topical corticosteroid treatment, including new application schedules, special vehicles and new agents.

In particular, the group of hydrocortisone and prednisolone double esters, with prednicarbate as the first and most often prescribed representative, seem to be equipotent alternatives to the gold standard betamethasone 17-valerate with respect to anti-inflammatory activity. At the same time, these new agents induce less skin atrophy, which may result from a unique skin metabolism and a specific influence on the cytokine network in the epidermis and dermis.

On the basis of these effects, a new approach to in vitro quantification of the benefit-risk ratio has been developed. As already suggested by investigations in human volunteers, the benefit-risk ratio of the new compounds appears to be increased. Therefore, recent research has focused on drugs that selectively modulate cytokine release.