The percutaneous absorption of diflucortolone-21-valerate (DFV) and its effect on the pituitary adrenal system were investigated during large skin area treatment (20 g ointment twice a day for 8 days) of two groups of healthy volunteers with Nerisona® and Nerisalic® ointment, respectively. Plasma levels of diflucortolone, cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) were measured in both groups whereas plasma levels of salicylic acid were measured additionally in volunteers treated with Nerisalic. No differences, neither in percutaneous absorption of DFV nor in effects on cortisol and DHEA were found between the two treatment groups. There was a slight reduction in cortisol levels under both treatments, but the circadian rhythm was not disturbed. Mean salicylic acid plasma levels under high-dose topical Nerisalic treatment were about 50-fold below levels where toxicity may be expected.

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