Drugs & Therapy Perspectives

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 522–527 | Cite as

Knowledge of potency and formulations of topical corticosteroids among drug vendors in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria

  • Perpetua U. IbekweEmail author
  • Eshan B. Henshaw
  • Grace C. Okudo
Original Research Article



Topical corticosteroids (TCs) are the most commonly prescribed medications in dermatology practice. Over-the-counter availability of all strengths in Nigeria has raised concerns regarding the use of TCs for non-labelled indications. Essentially, potential for misuse occurs at various levels, namely marketing, prescription, sales and end-use by patients and the lay public.


This survey aims to determine the range of TCs available in drug outlets (i.e. pharmacies and drug shops) across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria and to investigate the knowledge of the salesperson on their potency and formulation.


A cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey was conducted in drug outlets across the major satellite towns within the six area councils of the FCT from July to October 2017. The questionnaire sought to determine the brands of TCs available in pharmacies/drug shops, and obtain information on the knowledge of the potency and formulations of TCs by pharmacists/chemists. Data underwent descriptive statistical analysis.


Of the 252 drug outlets visited, 174 (69%) met the inclusion criteria. Accurate knowledge of TC potency and formulations was obtained from 33.3% and 27.6% of the respondents, respectively. A total of 454 brands of TCs were on sale in 70.7% of these outlets. Over 73% were triple-combination creams (TC–antifungal–antibacterial combination); 5% and 5.5% were TC–antibacterials and TC–antifungal combinations, respectively, while 15% were TCs alone. Only 6.6% were mild-potency TCs and 98.6% were cream formulations. The majority of the respondents stated that some of the TC prescriptions were from doctors.


Available TC formulations are skewed in favour of triple-combination creams. This is not in accordance with best clinical practice.



We wish to acknowledge Emeje Mohammed Buhari, Mary Paul and Rejoice Ojoagefu for the ground work of visiting the different pharmacies and drug shops and the drug outlet owners who consented to participate in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Perpetua U. Ibekwe, Eshan B. Henshaw and Grace C. Okudo declare no relevant conflicts of interest.


No external funding was received for the study.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was obtained from the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Ethics Committee.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was obtained from each participant prior to completing the questionnaire. Confidentiality was ensured, and no incentive was given.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Perpetua U. Ibekwe
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eshan B. Henshaw
    • 2
  • Grace C. Okudo
    • 3
  1. 1.Dermatology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, College of health SciencesUniversity of AbujaAbujaNigeria
  2. 2.Dermatology Unit, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of CalabarCalabarNigeria
  3. 3.Dermatology Unit, Department of Internal MedicineEnugu State University Teaching HospitalEnuguNigeria

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