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February 1980

Percutaneous Absorption of Hydrocortisone Increases With Long-term Administration: In Vivo Studies in the Rhesus Monkey

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Drug Metabolism, G. D. Searle and Co, Research and Development Division, Chicago (Dr Wester and Mr Noonan), and the Department of Dermatology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco (Dr Maibach).

Arch Dermatol. 1980;116(2):186-188. doi:10.1001/archderm.1980.01640260062015

• This study compares percutaneous absorption of hydrocortisone after short- and long-term administration. The experimental design was to first apply14C-hydrocortisone. This was followed by long-term administration of nonradioactive hydrocortisone. Then14C-hydrocortisone was applied again when urinary excretion of radioactivity from the first application reached minimum detectable levels. Short- (first14C-hydrocortisone application) and long-term (second14C-hydrocortisone application) penetrations were compared. The level of absorption of hydrocortisone significantly increased during long-term administration, whether applied in an acetone vehicle or in a 0.9% emulsion ointment base (Eucerin). A placebo study in which only an acetone vehicle was applied for a long period followed by14C-hydrocortisone application showed no enhanced penetration. It is suggested that long-term application of hydrocortisone alters the penetration barrier, resulting in enhanced penetration. The relevance of this for long-term corticosteroid use in man is possibly of great importance.

(Arch Dermatol 116:186-188, 1980)

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