Why is this medication prescribed?
Betamethasone is used to treat the itching, redness, dryness, crusting, scaling, inflammation, and discomfort of various skin conditions.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Betamethasone comes in ointment, cream, lotion, and aerosol (spray) in various strengths for use on the skin. It is usually applied one to four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use betamethasone exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not apply it to other areas of your body or wrap or bandage the treated area unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Wash or soak the affected area thoroughly before applying the medicine, unless it irritates your skin. Then apply the ointment or cream sparingly in a thin film and rub it in gently.
To use the lotion on your scalp, part your hair, apply a small amount of the medicine on the affected area, and rub it in gently. Protect the area from washing and rubbing until the lotion dries. You may wash your hair as usual but not right after applying the medicine.
To apply an aerosol, shake well and spray on the affected area holding the container about 3 to 6 inches away. Spray for about 2 seconds to cover an area the size of your hand. Take care not to inhale the vapors. If you are spraying near your face, cover your eyes.
Avoid prolonged use on the face, in the genital and rectal areas, and in skin creases and armpits unless directed by your doctor.
If you are using betamethasone on your face, keep it out of your eyes.
If you are using betamethasone on a child's diaper area, do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants. Such use may increase side effects.
Do not apply cosmetics or other skin preparations on the treated area without talking with your doctor.
If your doctor tells you to wrap or bandage the treated area, follow these instructions:
- Soak the area in water or wash it well.
- While the skin is moist, gently rub the medication into the affected areas.
- Cover the area with plastic wrap (such as Saran Wrap or Handi-Wrap.) The plastic may be held in place with a gauze or elastic bandage or adhesive tape on the normal skin beside the treated area. (Instead of using plastic wrap, plastic gloves may be used for the hands, plastic bags for the feet, or a shower cap for the scalp.)
- Carefully seal the edges of the plastic to make sure the wrap adheres closely to the skin. If the affected area is moist, you can leave the edges of the plastic wrap partly unsealed or puncture the wrap to allow excess moisture to escape.
- Leave the plastic wrapping in place as long as instructed by your doctor. Usually plastic wraps are left in place not more than 12 hours each day.
- Cleanse the skin and reapply the medication each time a new plastic wrapping is applied.
Call your doctor if the treated area gets worse or if burning, swelling, redness, or oozing of pus develops.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using betamethasone,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to betamethasone or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cancer chemotherapy agents, other topical medications, and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have an infection or have ever had diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, a circulation disorder, or an immune disorder.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using betamethasone, call your doctor immediately.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Betamethasone may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- drying or cracking of the skin
- change in skin color
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- skin infection (redness, swelling, or oozing pus)
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it according to the package instructions. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Do not use it to treat other skin conditions. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Brand names of combination products
- Lotrisone® (containing Betamethasone, Clotrimazole)
- Taclonex® (containing Betamethasone, Calcipotriene)
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.