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Fear of adverse effects of corticosteroids is common in dermatology and results in medication nonadherence. To study the efficacy of targeted education in reducing topical steroid phobia. In this double-blinded, randomized controlled trial, participants in the intervention arm were presented with an educational video and patient information leaflet targeting common misconceptions of topical corticosteroids. Steroid phobia was assessed with the topical corticosteroid phobia (TOPICOP) scale, medication adherence with the Elaboration d'un outil d'evaluation de l'observance des traitements medicamenteux (ECOB) score, and quality of life with the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). The study randomized 275 patients. The mean TOPICOP score in the intervention arm decreased (improved) from 41.9 (SD, 17.4) to 37.1 (SD, 20.0) and to 33.8 (SD, 19.0) at 1 month and 3 months, respectively, with the reduction arising from the knowledge domain but not the fears and behaviors domain. This remained statistically significant after adjusting for demographic confounding with an expected reduction of 4.22 points (P = .031). After accounting for demographic factors, there was no statistical difference in medication adherence and quality of life. Limitations include the exclusion of non-English-speaking patients. Targeted education at a single time point improved the TOPICOP score primarily in the knowledge domain but not in the fear domain. Copyright © 2020 American Academy of Dermatology, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Ellie Choi, Ken Wei Tan, Fengjie Tang, Chris Tan, Nisha Suyien Chandran. Efficacy of targeted education in reducing topical steroid phobia: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2020 Dec;83(6):1681-1687

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PMID: 32171815

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