Corticosteroid cream is generally used to treat a variety of skin disorders topically. The most common active ingredient is a 0.5-2.5% dose of hydrocortisone which can relieve inflammation due to minor skin irritations and rashes. The different strengths are usually important when looking at different bodily applications, for example corticosteroid cream for hemorrhoids in a sensitive area like the groin is generally a lower preparation than that used elsewhere. It is generally available at any pharmacy in some form though there are different ingredients depending on brand and use available when buying corticosteroid cream over the counter. More severe conditions will require prescription for higher doses of corticosteroid creams like those used to treat dermatitis, scabies, and psoriasis. It is generally used to manage symptoms rather than treat the underlying cause.
A prescription dose of corticosteroid cream can be as high as 600% more potent than a hydrocortizone cream you may find in store. For example dexamethasone cream is one of the most potent available and is almost 30 times more potent than the naturally occurring hormone cortisol. Prescription strength creams are usually an important factor in patient healing as they will let the skin rest and not be irritated by the patients constant scratching. This can also be true of a general cortisol cream when used in regards to bug bites or plant irritations. There are a variety of corticosteroid cream brands available both as a prescription and over the counter. For example Aveeno Anti Itch cream and Good Sense contains a mild form of corticosteroid, whereas CVS and other retailers will offer their own version of the preferred hydrocortisone. There are some side effects to using corticosteroid creams and though these may not be severe it is important to know about them before beginning the regime and reporting them to your doctor upon occurrence.
Topical corticosteroids can also be prescribed by veterinarians and open places like PetsMart or PetCo will have a dispensary for pet medications such as corticosteroids. There are even websites like 1800petmeds who specialize in pet medications and stock corticosteroid cream for veterinary use. It is not advised to use these pharmaceuticals to replace those prescribed for humans as they often contain different ingredients that are not safe. Usually these creams, such as fluocinonide cream, are used to treat allergies though they can also have severe side effects for your pet.
When looking at where to buy your corticosteroid cream it is important to know how strong you need to use and if it is available without a prescription. Chances are you have seen your healthcare provider and they suggested it, so if they have given you a prescription, say for betamethasone cream, you may need to take it to your regular pharmacy and drop it off along with any other prescription. The great thing about having a regular pharmacy is that they will also have records of your other medications and will be able to tell you if you have any potential drug interactions from your corticosteroid cream. When dealing with any medication it is important to follow the directions given by your doctor or pharmacist for your dosage or risk severe complications.
If your healthcare provider does not have an on site pharmacy consider going to a general pharmacy store like CVS or Walgreen’s. Often they have the same products and knowledge that the healthcare centers do and certainly can offer the same level of care and knowledge when purchasing your corticosteroid cream. Many grocery chains even have their own pharmacy section that will even give you points towards store discounts for purchasing with them. Another convenience of using these stores is that often you won’t have to go out of your way since you will be heading there anyway at some point.
Online retailers generally cater only to the over the counter strengths however there are some rather dubious sites offering the prescription strength without a prescription. These sites should generally be avoided as there is no guarantee the product is authentic, in date, or really what they say it is. Often cheap imitations, or weak substitutes are sold on these sites for outrageous prices to take advantage of patients who do not have the healthcare coverage to pay full priced costs or do not want to go through their healthcare provider. There have even been instances of severe reactions and death due to “fake” medications so when looking for corticosteroid creams these sites should be well avoided. You can even find half empty tubes on Ebay on occasion, though who would actually purchase something like that!
Buying corticosteroid creams can be quite dependent on your countries laws governing pharmaceuticals. What one country may consider over the counter strength another may require a prescription so it is important to check and see what is available before heading to your doctor or getting a prescription that you may not need. Hydrocortisone is the main and most popular form of corticosteroid cream available. Most pharmacy or medical stores carry some form of corticosteroid cream but it is always advisable to check with your healthcare provider first and see what form is right for your needs.