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Topical corticosteroids ‘may increase vulnerability’ to Covid-19, scientists suggest

A skin condition, which is treated by corticosteroids. This may increase vulnerability to Covid-19.


The long-term widespread use of potent topical corticosteroids – used to treat psoriasis and eczema – may increase vulnerability to Covid-19, researchers from Turkey have suggested.

They conducted research, published in Dermatologic Therapy, that looked at 93 people who had presented with dermatological conditions at Usak Hospital in the three years before a Covid-19 diagnosis.

Superficial fungal infections (25.8%), seborrheic dermatitis (11.8%), actinic keratosis (10.8%), psoriasis (6.5%), and eczema (6.5%), were the most common skin conditions in these patients.

The study stated: ‘It can be speculated that the long‐term widespread use of potent topical corticosteroids may contribute to increased vulnerability to Covid‐19.’

Of patients who had presented with a skin condition in the three months prior to a Covid-19 diagnosis, psoriasis was among the most common (20% of patients).

The researchers suggested that the use of immunosuppressants, such as topical corticosterioids, to treat psoriasis could have been related to the frequency of Covid-19 patients with the skin condition.

The study concluded: ‘These findings indicate that not only biological agents but also topical and conventional immunosuppressive treatments may cause the predisposition to Covid‐19 during the pandemic.’

However, the research on topical corticosteroids and Covid-19 was limited by its small sample size and only used patients from a single hospital in Turkey.

Last month, ‘minimally invasive’ tape strips that can differentiate between eczema and psoriasis showed promise in a study.

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