Photocarcinogenicity of selected topically applied dermatological drugs: calcineurin inhibitors, corticosteroids, and vitamin D analogs

Lerche, Catharina M.; Wulf, Hans Christian
September 2010
Dermatology Reports;2010, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p32
Academic Journal
Topical therapies constitute the mainstay of dermatological treatments for skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, or acne. Since some of these diseases are often chronic, treatment duration may last for years and may even last the patient's entire lifetime. Obviously, such longterm therapy may raise safety concerns, which also include the potential photocarcinogenic effect. Most patients are exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) during leisure, work, vacations, or in tanning beds. Additionally, the patients may receive UVR via UVB phototherapy or psoralens plus UVA radiation (PUVA). The use of immunosuppressant's, such as corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors, has markedly increased. Patients with skin diseases have benefited from both systemic and topical treatment of both new and established drugs. The issue of a black box warning by the US Food and Drug Administration has increased concerns about photocarcinogenesis, which raises the question: "Are these drugs safe?" This review focuses on the mechanism of action and photocarcinogenic potential of commonly used topical treatments, such as corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, and vitamin D analogs.


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