Corticosteroid exposure and cumulative effects in patients with eczema: Results from a patient survey

Kelly Barta, Luz S. Fonacier, Mary Hart, Peter Lio, Kathryn Tullos, Belinda Sheary, Tonya A. Winders*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Individuals with eczema may have substantial lifetime corticosteroid exposure, increasing the risk of corticosteroid-related side effects. Objective: To conduct a patient survey evaluating corticosteroid exposure and its cumulative effects in individuals with eczema. Methods: The multinational online survey was conducted between November 5, 2020, and January 11, 2021. Participants were aged 18 years or older and a patient (n = 1889) or a caregiver of a child (n = 271) diagnosed with having eczema by a medical professional. Results: All participants reported using corticosteroids. Average duration of topical corticosteroid (TCS) use was 15.3 years in adults and 3.6 years in children; 75% used TCS 1 to 2 times a day and 50% applied TCS 15 to 30 days/mo. Frequency and duration could not be determined by varying prescription TCS potencies. Oral corticosteroid use was reported by 36% of the participants (23% for eczema), with a lifetime average of 8.4 courses in adults and 8.1 courses in children. Corticosteroids for non-eczema atopic conditions were reported by 49% of the participants. In participants using TCS, 83% of adults and 64% of children experienced worsening symptoms over time. Development of new symptoms and conditions increased with a greater number of corticosteroid treatments and longer duration of TCS use but may have been owing to eczema progression. Symptoms consistent with topical steroid withdrawal syndrome after TCS discontinuation were reported by many participants. Conclusion: Reported substantial corticosteroid exposure throughout their lifetime eczema experience placed participants at risk of negative outcomes. Corticosteroids are a critical component of eczema treatment for many patients. However, careful corticosteroid prescribing practices and monitoring are needed to avoid side effects. When possible, corticosteroid-sparing strategies should be explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-99.e10
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Corticosteroid exposure and cumulative effects in patients with eczema: Results from a patient survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this