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.
Patients who are on drugs that suppress the immune system are more susceptible to infection than healthy individuals. Chicken pox and measles , for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in susceptible pediatric patients or adults on immunosuppressant doses of corticosteroids. In pediatric or adult patients who have not had these diseases, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. How the dose, route, and duration of corticosteroid administration affects the risk of developing a disseminated infection is not known. The contribution of the underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If exposed, therapy with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) or pooled intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), as appropriate, may be indicated. If exposed to measles, prophylaxis with pooled intramuscular immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package inserts for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information.) If chicken pox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered.