Analysis of Chinese herbal creams prescribed for dermatological conditionsBMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7183.563 (Published 27 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:563
- F MKeane, specialist registrar in dermatology, (, )
- S E Munn, senior registrar in dermatology,
- A W P du Vivier, consultant dermatologist,
- N F Taylor, clinical biochemist,
- E M Higgins, senior lecturer in dermatology.
- Correspondence to: Dr Keane
Abstract Objective: To determine whether Chinese herbal creams used for the treatment of dermatological conditions contain steroids.
Design: 11 herbal creams obtained from patients attending general and paediatric dermatology outpatient clinics were analysed with high resolution gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.
Setting: Departments of dermatology and clinical biochemistry.
Main outcome measure: Presence of steroid.
Results: Eight creams contained dexamethasone at a mean concentration of 456μg/g (range 64to 1500μg/g). All were applied to areas of sensitive skin such as face and flexures.
Conclusion: Greater regulation needs to be imposed on Chinese herbalists to prevent illegal and inappropriate prescribing of potent steroids.