Why is this medication prescribed?
Betamethasone topical is used to treat the itching, redness, dryness, crusting, scaling, inflammation, and discomfort of various skin conditions, including psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form on some areas of the body) and eczema (a skin disease that causes the skin to be dry and itchy and to sometimes develop red, scaly rashes). Betamethasone is in a class of medications called corticosteroids. It works by activating natural substances in the skin to reduce swelling, redness, and itching.
How should this medicine be used?
Betamethasone comes in ointment, cream, lotion, gel, and aerosol (spray) in various strengths for use on the skin and as a foam to apply to the scalp. It is usually applied once or twice daily. 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 use it to treat other skin conditions unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Your skin condition should improve during the first 2 weeks of your treatment. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve during this time.
To use betamethasone topical, apply a small amount of ointment, cream, solution, gel, or lotion to cover the affected area of skin with a thin even film and rub it in gently.
To use the foam on your scalp, part your hair, apply a small amount of the medicine on the affected area, and rub it in gently. You may wash your hair as usual but not right after applying the medicine.
Betamethasone foam may catch fire. Stay away from open fire, flames, and do not smoke while you are applying betamethasone foam, and for a short time afterward.
This medication is only for use on the skin. Do not let betamethasone topical get into your eyes or mouth and do not swallow it. Avoid use in the genital and rectal areas and in skin creases and armpits unless directed by your doctor.
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 other skin preparations or products on the treated area without talking with your doctor.
Do not wrap or bandage the treated area unless your doctor tells you that you should. Such use may increase side effects.
Call your doctor if the treated area gets worse or if burning, swelling, redness, or oozing of pus develops.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using betamethasone,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to betamethasone, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in betamethasone topical products. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the following: other corticosteroid medications and other topical medications.
- tell your doctor if you have an infection or have ever had diabetes, liver disease, or Cushing's syndrome (an abnormal condition that is caused by excess hormones [corticosteroids]). .
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using betamethasone topical, call your doctor immediately.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using betamethasone topical.
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:
- burning, itching, irritation, stinging, redness, or dryness of the skin
- unwanted hair growth
- skin color changes
- bruising or shiny skin
- tiny red bumps or rash around the mouth
- small white or red bumps on the skin
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe rash
- redness, swelling, or other signs of skin infection in the place where you applied betamethasone
Children who use betamethasone topical may have an increased risk of side effects including slowed growth and delayed weight gain. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of applying this medication to your child's skin.
Betamethasone topical may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
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 at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze it..
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
If someone swallows betamethasone topical, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to betamethasone.
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)
- Enstilar® and Taclonex® (containing Betamethasone, Calcipotriene)
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.