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The introduction of corticosteroids into oral medicine heralded a therapeutic advance, and substantial benefits have occurred from their use. Three topical steroids are being used currently in oral diseases, . hydrocortisone hemisuccinate, triamcinolone in Orabase 0-1 per cent and betamethasone valerate 0-1 mg. The efficacy of these agents can be increased markedly if they are administered during the prodromal phase of ulceration, . when lymphocyte activity is at its maximum. Therapeutic doses of all of them can be exceeded three times without impairing adrenal function. Nevertheless some of these preparations, as exemplified by topical medication, induced an unfortunate acute pseudomembranous candidiasis without any alteration in the plasma cortisol level. The routine examination and treatment of ulcers in the mouth should be a careful exercise helped by a good light source and a tongue spatula. Oral lesions affecting the soft tissues may be often difficult to diagnose, because of the rapid occurrence of secondary changes, such as maceration from moisture, abrasion by food and teeth, perhaps, and the existence of erosions and ulcerations from ruptured vesicles or bullae. Thus, diagnosis will depend not only on the grouping and distribution of lesion, but also on its subsequent behaviour. In some cases too there will be associated changes in the facial skin or elsewhere in the body.
Corticosteroids have been used as drug treatment for some time. Lewis Sarett of Merck & Co. was the first to synthesize cortisone, using a complicated 36-step process that started with deoxycholic acid, which was extracted from ox bile .  The low efficiency of converting deoxycholic acid into cortisone led to a cost of US $200 per gram. Russell Marker , at Syntex , discovered a much cheaper and more convenient starting material, diosgenin from wild Mexican yams . His conversion of diosgenin into progesterone by a four-step process now known as Marker degradation was an important step in mass production of all steroidal hormones, including cortisone and chemicals used in hormonal contraception .  In 1952, . Peterson and . Murray of Upjohn developed a process that used Rhizopus mold to oxidize progesterone into a compound that was readily converted to cortisone.  The ability to cheaply synthesize large quantities of cortisone from the diosgenin in yams resulted in a rapid drop in price to US $6 per gram, falling to $ per gram by 1980. Percy Julian's research also aided progress in the field.  The exact nature of cortisone's anti-inflammatory action remained a mystery for years after, however, until the leukocyte adhesion cascade and the role of phospholipase A2 in the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes was fully understood in the early 1980s.