Compare and contrast the mechanism of action for medications:

-Topical corticosterioids

-Topical calcineurin inhibitors


-Antibacterials for dermatological conditions

1 page with 3 references no older than 5 years

No plagio more than 10%

APRIL 2, 2024

Compare and contrast the mechanism of action for medications

Mechanism of Action of Dermatological Medications

Topical Corticosteroids: Topical corticosteroids are widely used in dermatology for their potent anti-inflammatory properties. They work by binding to cytoplasmic glucocorticoid receptors, forming a steroid-receptor complex. This complex then translocates into the nucleus and binds to glucocorticoid response elements on DNA, modulating gene transcription. Ultimately, this leads to the suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukins and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), resulting in decreased inflammation, erythema, and pruritus. Topical corticosteroids also inhibit the activation and function of immune cells like T lymphocytes and mast cells, further reducing the inflammatory response.

Topical Calcineurin Inhibitors: Topical calcineurin inhibitors, such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, exert their effects by inhibiting calcineurin, a phosphatase enzyme crucial for T-cell activation and cytokine production. Unlike corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors do not directly affect gene transcription. Instead, they interfere with the dephosphorylation of nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT), preventing its translocation into the nucleus. This inhibits the production of inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), thereby reducing inflammation and alleviating symptoms like erythema and pruritus. Importantly, calcineurin inhibitors target specific subsets of immune cells, primarily T lymphocytes, minimizing systemic immunosuppression and adverse effects associated with corticosteroids.

Antifungals: Antifungals are medications used to treat fungal infections of the skin, such as dermatophytosis (ringworm), candidiasis, and pityriasis versicolor. They work through various mechanisms depending on the specific drug. For example, azole antifungals (e.g., clotrimazole, ketoconazole) inhibit the enzyme lanosterol 14-alpha-demethylase, which is essential for fungal ergosterol synthesis, disrupting the fungal cell membrane integrity and function. This leads to fungal cell death and clearance of the infection. Other antifungals, like terbinafine, inhibit squalene epoxidase, an enzyme involved in ergosterol biosynthesis, further disrupting fungal cell membrane synthesis and function. Antifungals may also exert fungicidal or fungistatic effects, depending on the drug concentration, fungal species, and host factors.

Antibacterials for Dermatological Conditions: Antibacterials used in dermatology include topical agents like benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, and erythromycin, among others. These medications target bacteria commonly associated with skin infections, such as Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus. Benzoyl peroxide exhibits bactericidal effects by releasing oxygen radicals, which oxidize bacterial proteins and disrupt bacterial cell membranes, leading to bacterial death. Clindamycin and erythromycin are antibiotics that inhibit bacterial protein synthesis by binding to the 50S ribosomal subunit, thereby preventing peptide bond formation and halting bacterial growth. By targeting specific bacterial pathogens, these antibacterials help alleviate symptoms of bacterial skin infections, such as acne vulgaris and impetigo.

In summary, while topical corticosteroids, calcineurin inhibitors, antifungals, and antibacterials are all used in dermatology to treat various skin conditions, they differ in their mechanisms of action and target pathogens. Corticosteroids and calcineurin inhibitors primarily modulate the immune response to reduce inflammation, whereas antifungals and antibacterials directly target fungal or bacterial pathogens, respectively. Understanding these mechanisms is crucial for selecting the most appropriate treatment based on the underlying condition and individual patient factors.


  1. Schäcke, H., & Döcke, W. D. (2019). Mechanisms involved in the side effects of glucocorticoids. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 200, 190–209.
  2. Lebwohl, M., Swensen, A. R., Nyirady, J., Kim, E., Gwaltney, C. J., Wang, Y., & Xiang, Q. (2020). Pimecrolimus cream, 1%: Mechanism of action studies. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD, 19(9), 885–892.
  3. Gupta, A. K., Foley, K. A., & Versteeg, S. G. (2017). New Antifungal Agents and New Formulations Against Dermatophytes. Mycopathologia, 182(1–2), 127–141.
  4. Nakatsuji, T., & Gallo, R. L. (2017). The role of the skin microbiome in atopic dermatitis. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 119(6), 500–507.

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