The influence of topical steroid application on tuberculin skin reactions in healthy persons
Kriatian Thestrup-Pedersen, Hanna Ahlburg, Pia Hansen, Poul Ølholm Larsen
Thirty-seven healthy persons were studied in order to evaluate the influence of topical steroid application on tuberculin skin reactions. Four areas measuring 4 cm in diameter were each treated with 50 micrograms of hydrocortisone cream 1%, or 50% micrograms of halcinonide (Halog) cream 0.1%, or 50 micrograms of unguentum cetacei simplex (cold cream), or not treated. The creams were applied once daily for 3 days before and one day after a tuberculin skin test. After 24 and 48 hours the area of induration were measured. We observed that application of unguentum cetacei simplex increased the size of the induration at the 24-hour reading, but not after 48 hours. Hydrocortisone cream 1% gave the same effect, whereas halcinonide cream (Halog) 0.1% caused ischaemia of the skin and reduced the induration of the skin test after 24 hours, but not after 48 hours. In 12 persons we found that simple rubbing of the skin with halcinonide cream base did not affect the size of the tuberculin skin reaction. In the present study we found that even very potent local steroid application on intact skin could only delay the development of tuberculin skin reactions, but could not diminish their size.