Section : History & Terminology

Topical steroids in dermatology: the story behind it

  • The use of steroids in dermatology was initiated by two American New-York based dermatologists: Marion Sulzberger and Victor Witten.
  • Topical steroids:
    • early topical preparations containing cortisone acetate were surprisingly ineffective
    • HYDROcortisone acetate was made available (“Compound F” by Merck):
      • It was combined 25mg/g with an ointment base…and became moderately effective initially for Atopic Dermatitis.
      • Results were published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 1952
      • From here onwards, with increasingly effective formulas of steroids, the art of compounding preparations started to be lost…resulting in less lengthy prescriptions.

Source of information: Crissey JT el al. Dermatology and Dermatologists (2002). Parthenon Publishing