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April 1956

Adrenocortical Steroids, Their Derivatives, and Corticotropin: Pharmacologic Aspects, Uses, and Contraindications in Dermatology

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch Derm. 1956;73(4):342-354. doi:10.1001/archderm.1956.01550040036006

Adrenocortical hormones and corticotropin (ACTH) may yield rapid and beneficial results in specific skin disorders. However, the diversity of hormonal and metabolic effects produced by these agents imposes certain limitations to their use. Consequently, the beneficial results which may accrue must be weighed against the possible ill effects of hormone overdosage. The over-all effects of the hormone must be considered before therapy is undertaken for the purpose of producing a specific action in a specific tissue or organ system.

The purpose of this paper is to review some of the basic pharmacology of the adrenocortical hormones, their new derivatives, and corticotropin, with particular emphasis on potential side-effects and employment in diseases of the skin.


The adrenocortical hormones are steroids. Over a period of 20 years, 29 compounds have been isolated, culminating in largescale synthesis for practical use.

In man the adrenal secretory products

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