Assessment of topical steroid phobia in dermatology patients, a cross-sectional study from an urban area of Pakistan

Document Type



Internal Medicine; Department of Medicine


Background: Topical corticosteroid (TCS) phobia is a fear of steroids, most prevalent among the general steroid users, the origin of anxiety and fear about steroids is still unclear. Although multiple studies have been using the validated TOPICOP© scale to assess the scores of steroid phobia in various skin disorders.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to analyze the steroid phobia among users of topical corticosteroids and also to assess the association between demographical characteristics and TCS phobia.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted to evaluate the belief and perspectives of TCS in a large range of patients of both genders of all ages. Patients presenting in dermatology clinic with any dermatological complaint, who were being treated or currently on topical steroids were included. TOPICOP© scale was used to assess the topical steroid phobia.
Results: A total of 221 topical steroid users were selected for this study, among them 56 (26.7%) were male and 162 (73.3%) were female. The median of global TOPICOP score was 18% and CI 22-12%, S.D: 6.23. The median score of knowledge and beliefs was 7%, (IQR: 9-4%), S.D: 3.33, while fear showed median 5% (IQR: 7-3%), S.D: 2.24, and 6% (IQR: 8-4%), S.D:2.4 for behavior 96 (43.4%). Patients who were not well aware of steroids but still afraid of using steroids. 112 (50.7%) acknowledged the non-adherence to treatment.
Conclusion: Steroid phobia is more prevalent among uneducated users of topical steroids than among those who are knowledgeable and literate. Healthcare practitioners should counsel their patients about steroids use and related concerns, rather than addressing the issue that is causing fear in patients.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Dermatological Treatment