Purpose: We report a prospective randomized study comparing the effects of highly potent and moderately potent topical steroids in treating pediatric phimosis. Materials and Methods: A total of 70 boys 1 to 12 years old with phimosis were randomly assigned to receive topical application of either betamethasone valerate 0.06% (a highly potent steroid) or clobetasone butyrate 0.05% (a moderately potent steroid). Parents of the boys were instructed to retract the foreskin gently without causing pain, and to apply the topical steroids over the stenotic opening of the prepuce twice daily for 4 weeks, then for another 4 weeks if no improvement was achieved. Retractibility of the prepuce was graded from 0 to 5. Response to treatment was arbitrarily defined as improvement in the retractibility score of more than 2 points. Results: Mean treatment and followup periods were 4.3 and 19.1 weeks, respectively. The response rates in boys treated with betamethasone valerate and clobetasone butyrate were 81.3% and 77.4%, respectively (p = 0.63). Mean retractibility score decreased from 3.9 ± 1.0 to 1.7 ± 1.1, and 4.2 ± 1.0 to 1.9 ± 1.0 in the betamethasone and clobetasone groups, respectively. Both steroids were effective in all age groups. Pretreatment retractibility score did not affect treatment outcomes. No adverse effect was encountered. Conclusions: Highly potent and moderately potent topical steroids are of comparable effectiveness in treating phimosis. A less potent steroid may be considered first to decrease the risk of the potential adverse effects.
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