Systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids has produced reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) suppression and/or manifestations of Cushing's syndrome in some patients. Clobetasol propionate has been shown to suppress the HPA axis at doses as low as 2 g/day. Conditions which increase systemic absorption include application of high-potency corticosteroids, use over large surface areas, prolonged use, use in areas where the epidermal barrier is disrupted (., skin abrasion), use in pediatric patients, use in patients with hepatic disease, and the use of an occlusive dressing. Clobetasol propionate preparations should not be used with occlusive dressings. Patients receiving large doses of a potent topical corticosteroid like clobetasol should be evaluated periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression and manifestations of Cushing's syndrome. If these effects are noted, an attempt should be made to withdraw the drug, to reduce the frequency of application, or to substitute a less potent corticosteroid. Recovery of HPA axis function is generally prompt and complete upon discontinuation. Infrequently, signs and symptoms of withdrawal may occur, requiring supplemental systemic corticosteroids. It is recommended that the administration of clobetasol creams, ointments, gels, or topical solutions be limited to no more than 14 days duration, in order to limit the risk of systemic effects. Clobetasol propionate emollient creams may be administered for up to 4 weeks duration if applied to no more than 5—10% of body surface area. The total weekly dose limit of 50 g or 50 mL of a % preparation should not be exceeded for any clobetasol preparation.
McIntyre and colleagues (2007) stated that treatment options for AKs include ablative (destructive) therapies such as cryosurgery, curettage with electrosurgery, and PDT. Topical therapies are used in patients with multiple lesions. Fluorouracil has been the traditional topical treatment for AKs, although imiquimod 5 % cream and diclofenac sodium 3 % gel are effective alternative therapies. This is in agreement with the recommendations of Newman and Weinberg (2007). Furthermore, Iraji et al (2008) noted that the use of diclofenac is associated with a few side effects, which include pruritus, rashes, dry skin, and scaling. These side effects are usually minimal and tolerable. A meta-analysis of 3 randomized trials (n = 364) found that treatment with diclofenac gel resulted in complete resolution of AKs in approximately 40 % of patients as compared with 12 % with placebo. Thus, this topical medication is suggested as the first line treatment for AKs.