There is some evidence that sun exposure can accelerate steroid-induced skin atrophy, the development of which can be limited by protecting the skin, particularly the face and arms, from the sun. Daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVB and UVA block) and appropriate protective clothing is recommended. 10 , 12 - 14 Patients on corticosteroids should also be encouraged to regularly use moisturisers on their arms and legs, as these may reduce bruising and tearing of the skin from minor trauma. 11 Evidence suggests that topical tretinoin can increase the epidermal thickness of sun-damaged atrophic skin, but long-term use may be necessary. 14 In dermatological practice, topical retinoids are used to help reverse skin atrophy caused by sun exposure or corticosteroid use.
The aim of this article is to bring less well recognised adverse effects of inhaled corticosteroids to the attention of prescribers. Whilst inhaled steroids have a more favourable side effect profile than systemic steroids, they are not free from adverse effects. The dose of inhaled steroids used should be carefully monitored, and kept at the lowest dose necessary to maintain adequate control of the patient’s disease process. Be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of co-prescribing various dose forms of corticosteroids (inhaled, intranasal, oral and topical preparations).