Corticosteroids belong to steroid hormones, which adrenal cortex produce. They are synthetic analogues of endogenous hormones. They are used to treat various diseases, including allergic and autoimmune ones. Below we’ll tell about steroid creams (prescription and over-the-counter ones).
What Does Steroid Cream Over the Counter Do?
For buying over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, you don’t have to get a doctor’s prescription. There is a wide range of different non-prescription medications. Some of them are used for itches, migraines, painful sensations and aches. Others are very effective remedies for treating tooth decay, athlete’s foot or other diseases. The American FDA has allowed for distributing these products over-the-counter. However, the government body warns that their use is not absolutely safe. There is always a certain degree of risk. When interacting with certain preparations, foods or supplements, over-the-counter medications can lead to complications. People who suffer from other diseases are also at risk. During pregnancy, always consult a doctor before starting administering any medication. You should also follow the instructions properly when taking any medicine. It is especially important for treating children. The efficiency of medications is not measured by their amount. Taking OTC medicines for a longer period or in a bigger amount can be dangerous for your life. If you don’t feel relieved, consult with a healthcare specialist.
There is only one steroid cream over the counter available on the market. It is hydrocortisone. There are many hydrocortisone-based creams for eczema, for the rash of allergic nature, for face allergy, etc. Their brand names include, in particular, Cortoderm Mild Ointment, Cortate, NuCort, Nupercainal HC, Locoid Lipocream, Cetacort, Dermtex-HC, Cortaid, Anusol HC, Summers Eve Specialcare, Prevex Hc, Scalpcort, Pandel, Hydrozone Plus, and others.
What Are the Key Characteristics of Hydrocortisone Topical Steroid Cream?
Hydrocortisone steroid cream over the counter is considered an effective remedy for treating itching, discomfort, painful sensations and swelling, which are the symptoms of hemorrhoids, anal fissures and other anal area problems. Sometimes it can be used for acne.
Remember, that you shouldn’t suddenly stop your treatment. Stop it or change it slowly.
In addition, there is a vaginal form of the drug on the market. But it isn’t produced as a cream, it comes in vaginal hydrocortisone suppositories to treat vulvovaginal lichen planus.
Hydrocortisone was created in 1955. In the WHO’s List of Essential Medicines, it is described as one of the safest for health and most powerful drugs. It is available in generic forms. As of 2018, the average retail price of the drug $0.14 – $0.24 per pill or unit in developing countries. In the United States, cream forms cost from $9 to $50, depending on the substance’s variation and concentration.
Applying Hydrocortisone Topical Steroid Cream
Rectal cream. Prepare to the procedure: clean it with water & soap, rinse & wipe it with a soft towel, so as not to irritate the skin. For the convenient application of the cream on the surface of the rectum, use the applicator tip or cap. Follow the recommendations of the healthcare professional and instructions on the pack. The applicator should be filled with the medicament (in the amount indicated in the instructions). After that put it into the anus (1.5 or 2.5 cm inside) and gently apply the cream inside the rectum. If you insert your fingers or other objects into your anus you may be injured.
Common Side Effects of Over-the-Counter Steroid Cream
The most typical undesirable effects include the following: burning sensations, itching & redness. In case of worsening of side effects above, consult with your healthcare professional. If your healthcare expert attributed this medicament to you, he/she was sure that the risk of side effects as well as their manifestation would be negligible compared to the benefits that you will get from using the medicament. Indeed, in many cases, treatment is not accompanied at all by any side effect.
In case of rare, but more severe side effects, which are rectal bleeding, skin changes (red color of the skin, skin hardening), see your healthcare expert immediately. Sometimes, this medicament can penetrate directly into the blood, which is fraught with undesirable events, characteristic of the abuse of corticosteroids. Children and patients, who have been treated for a long period, are more likely to face such adverse events as body weight loss, swelling ankles or feet, severe tiredness, head pain, vision deteriorations, increased urination.
If you experience severe adverse events typical for infection (cold, fever etc.) inform your consulting physician immediately.
The occurrence of a severe allergic reaction is very rare. Anyway, you should not neglect the following symptoms: itching/swelling, problems with breathing, rash, severe dizziness. It is necessary to visit the doctor immediately. These adverse events are not exhaustive. There may be other similar worsening which must be reported to the doctor.
That’s a biggie: as stated by Guin JD. (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1981), prolonged and uninterrupted use of hydrocortisone may lead to rosacea-like eruption, eyelid atrophy and telangiectasia. The scientist suggested that the therapy should be intermittent.
What Are Safety Precautions?
If you intend to use this drug, be sure to notify your doctor or licensed specialist whether you have allergic reactions to it. There can be different problems, in particular, allergic reactions.
Tell the healthcare professional about the illnesses that you had earlier or are suffering from now (for example, liver problems, diabetes, eye diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, and so on).
Corticosteroid medications may adversely affect the response of your body to stress (for example, tension associated with surgical intervention). So, tell your healthcare professional about such upcoming interventions or about getting any injuries.
Use the drug for treating children with extreme caution,. The cream should be applied to a small zone of the skin. It is also recommended to use special diapers that fit tightly.
Some experts argue that its prolonged use can slow the growth in children. To prevent possible worsening, follow changes in the height of your child during the period of the application.
If you are pregnant, you can use the drug only in exceptional cases. Long-term use can only do harm, against which your doctor should warn you.
Hydrocortisone topical is contraindicated for bacteria-caused skin damage, rozacea, skin sores and ulcers, juvenile plantaris dermatosis, and ichthyosis vulgaris.
Prescription Steroid Cream — the List of Remedies
Topical steroids are divided into the groups, according to their strength. They range from “super potent” (Class I) to the drugs with a low potency of action (Class 7). There are generic versions of branded topical steroids. Your healthcare professional will prescribe you the generic version if your treatment requires it. If you are recommended to take branded prescription steroid cream, be sure to check the information about it on the official website. Besides, check the possibility to obtain co-pay assistance.
For example, Class 2 of topical steroids includes the following drugs:
- 05% halobetasol propionate (Elocon Ointment, Ultravate, Lexette, Betachoice OINT, Halostrol, Halobeta, Halotop, Halovate);
- diflorasone diacetate (ApexiCon E Cream, Psorcon, Maxiflor, Florone);
- 25% desoximetasone (Topicort Cream/Ointment, Topicort LP, Desoxi);
- 01% fluocinonide (Halog Ointment, Vanos, Emderm, Flucin, Fluderm, Flucort, Luci, Lilicort, Supri Cort, Sebowash, Koni, Geolone).
These and other drugs also may be used for psoriasis. If you suffer from fungal infection, try to find antifungal creams in drugstores.
A Bit About Us
Do you want to know all about steroids? We can supply you with this information. Here you can read about women on steroids, where to buy steroids, what types of steroids (such as Equipoise, testosterone esters, etc.) are available on the market, etc. Also, you may learn about post-cycle therapy with Nolvadex or Clomiphene.