The most common side effect of topical corticosteroid use is skin atrophy. All topical steroids can induce atrophy, but higher potency steroids, occlusion, thinner skin, and older patient age increase the risk. The face, the backs of the hands, and intertriginous areas are particularly susceptible. Resolution often occurs after discontinuing use of these agents, but it may take months. Concurrent use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A) % may reduce the incidence of atrophy from chronic steroid applications. 30 Other side effects from topical steroids include permanent dermal atrophy, telangiectasia, and striae.
Steroid diabetes must be distinguished from stress hyperglycemia , hyperglycemia due to excessive intravenous glucose, or new-onset diabetes of another type. Because it is not unusual for steroid treatment to precipitate type 1 or type 2 diabetes in a person who is already in the process of developing it, it is not always possible to determine whether apparent steroid diabetes will be permanent or will go away when the steroids are finished. More commonly undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes are brought to clinical attention with corticosteroid treatment because subclinical hyperglycemia worsens and becomes symptomatic. Generally, steroid diabetes without preexisting type 2 diabetes will resolve upon termination of corticosteroid administration.