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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

Serious side effects from the use of topical betamethasone are rare.
Common

Burning, itching, irritation, redness, dryness, acne, stinging and cracking of skin, numbness or tingling in the extremities in 0.5% to 1% of patients. Risk of such reactions is higher with lotion and gel and lower in ointment and cream. (Products vary in potency from one brand to another; higher-potency products are more likely to cause side effects.)
Less Common

Blistering and pus near hair follicles, unusual bleeding or easy bruising, darkening or prominence of small surface veins, increased susceptibility to infection.
Betamethasone Topical


Drug Class:
Topical corticosteroid

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Cream, gel, lotion, ointment, aerosol, foam

Why Prescribed
To treat skin rashes and inflammation.

How It Works
Topical betamethasone appears to interfere with the formation of natural substances within the body that are directly responsible for the process of inflammation, which produces swelling, redness, and itching.

Range and Frequency
Apply sparingly as a thin film, 2 (sometimes 3) times a day, only to the specific areas of skin where needed. Wash or soak the affected area prior to application, as this may improve the absorption of the drug. Foam is for use on the scalp.

Onset of Effect
Rapid, but may take 24 to 48 hours to see effect.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
No special restrictions.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
Apply it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule as prescribed.

Stopping the Drug
Take as prescribed for the full treatment period, even if you begin to feel better before the scheduled end of therapy.

Prolonged Use
Avoid prolonged use, particularly near the eyes, on the face in general, on the genital or rectal regions, or in the folds of the skin (for example, underneath the breasts).

Over 60
Side effects may be more likely and more severe in older patients; therapy with topical corticosteroids should be limited.

Driving and Hazardous Work
The use of topical betamethasone should not impair your ability to perform such tasks safely.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Should not be used for prolonged periods in pregnant women or in women trying to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
Although problems have not been documented, caution is advised. Do not apply to breasts prior to nursing. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Infants and Children
It should not be used for more than 2 weeks on children and adolescents, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Do not use tight- fitting diapers or plastic pants on children when treating skin irritation in the diaper area.

Special Concerns
Wash your hands thoroughly after application. Do not wrap the treated area with bandages or tight-fitting clothing unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Doing so may cause skin infections to worsen; corticosteroid treatment may need to be discontinued to treat infections, then resumed later. Note that topical betamethasone is not a treatment for acne, burns, infections or disorders of pigmentation.

Overdose Symptoms
No specific ones have been reported.

What to Do
An overdose of a topical corticosteroid is unlikely to be life-threatening. However, in the event of accidental ingestion or an apparent overdose, call a doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center right away.

Drug Interactions
Do not mix topical betamethasone with other products, especially alcohol-containing preparations (which include colognes, aftershave, and many moisturizer lotions), since this may cause dryness and irritation, or increase the risk of an allergic reaction.

Food Interactions
Potassium supplements may decrease this drug's effects. Avoid foods high in sodium.

Disease Interactions
Caution is advised when taking this drug. Consult your doctor if you have any of the following: cataracts; diabetes mellitus; glaucoma; infection, sores, or ulcerations of the skin; infection at another site in your body; or tuberculosis.


Date Published: 04/13/2005
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