Korean J Clin Pharm.  2022 Jun;32(2):84-92. 10.24304/kjcp.2022.32.2.84.

General Public Knowledge Regarding Topical Corticosteroids: A Nationwide Survey in South Korea

  • 1Clinical Research Laboratory College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Pharmacy, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul 03181, Republic of Korea
  • 3Department of Pharmaceutical Industry, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 06974, Republic of Korea
  • 4College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Korea University, Sejong 30019, Republic of Korea
  • 5College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea
  • 6Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Research Institute, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea


Topical corticosteroids (TCs) are available both as over-the-counter drugs and prescription medicines at pharmacies. Although they are generally safe drugs, inappropriate and excessive use could result in potential side effects. Thus, it is important to have appropriate knowledge regarding the use of TCs. We performed a cross-sectional survey to assess public knowledge and the potential misuse or overuse of TCs.
A cross-sectional and nationwide online survey was conducted among participants who were aware of TCs. The survey items included sources of information, indications, potential side effects, and methods of application of TCs. A comparative analysis was conducted between those with (TC users) and without (TC non-users) an experience of using TCs. Results: Among 3,000 participants, 74.4% were TC users. The mass media was the most common information source of TCs, and only one-third of the surveyed people relied on pharmacists or doctors for information. Regarding indications and application methods, incorrect answer rate was high in some items, but respondents showed adequate knowledge. However, awareness of the safety of TCs was low. Overall, the TC users showed a higher knowledge of TCs than TC non-users.
Public knowledge of the use of TCs appears to be appropriate. However, we found potential misuse or overuse of some items and a lack of awareness of the side effects concerning TCs. Thus, healthcare professionals’ significant role is required.


Topical steroid; survey; public awareness; public knowledge; South Korea
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