A national review has found that individuals using topical steroids for long periods of time can sufer severe skin withdrawal side efects.

Following the review, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is advising people who are experiencing skin redness or burning sensations after ceasing to use these creams/ointments to seek advice from their health professional prior to restarting these products.

Patients can experience topical steroid withdrawal reactions after using topical corticosteroids at least daily for long periods of time – very infrequently, a severe type of topical steroid withdrawal can occur (also known as red skin syndrome or topical steroid addiction). The comprehensive national review included assessment of published clinical research, reported drug reactions and advice from skin charities and organisations.

According to the MHRA, product information for topical corticosteroids is being updated to include safety warnings on withdrawal reactions.

The MHRA has also developed a safety leaflet to support patients and healthcare professionals, which includes advice on how to reduce the risk of severe reactions.