Monday 26 February, 2007

The “fingertip unit” of topical steroids

Posted in Dermatology, Emergency Dept., General Practice, Michael Tam at 21:16 by Michael Tam

Original article by: Michael Tam :: Printer friendly

The fingertip unit

This article was inspired by a comment from Dr Ewen McPhee (a rural GP) who mentioned the use of the “fingertip unit” in the article on topical corticosteroids.

The “fingertip unit” was original described by Long and Finlay in 1991 and is a handy guide for both doctors and patients to describe quantities of corticosteroid cream (1).

In essence, one “fingertip unit” is equivalent to 20-25 mm of cream or ointment squeezed onto the “fingertip”. One “fingertip unit” is approximately 0.5 g of cream or ointment is is enough to cover the front and back of a single hand.

One fingertip unit = 0.5 g of cream or ointment = two hand (palm) surfaces

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Monday 27 November, 2006

Topical corticosteroids

Posted in Dermatology, General Practice, May Su, Wards at 22:18 by May Su

Original article by: May Su :: Printer friendly

Topical corticosteroids are used for a variety of dermatological conditions – dermatitis (atopic eczema), psoriasis, or in conjunction with anti-fungal agents for severe tinea.

There is a confusing array of topical steroid preparations available in Australia. The question is which to use, and when.

Potency is dependent on the type of corticosteroid, the vehicle it is applied with (i.e., lotion, cream or ointment) and whether an occlusive dressing is used.

Potency is directly proportional to the risk of side effects associated with their use. It is preferable to use the lowest potency agent required to effect treatment.

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