Four previously healthy children acquired skin problems that were treated with topical or intralesional fluorinated corticosteroids. Three developed signs that suggested Cushing's syndrome 1-4 months after initial treatment. Investigation showed low plasma cortisol levels and inadequate response to corticotrophin stimulation. After 7 months of treatment with topical steroids the fourth child presented with failure to thrive; during a febrile illness he had a convulsion followed by acute hypotension which responded to parenteral corticosteroid administration. Adrenal function was not studied in this patient. Although fluorinated corticosteroids seldom lead to overt adrenal suppression in children, they may impair pituitary-adrenal responses in some. Such patients should be given oral or parenteral steroid cover in the event of illness or trauma.
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