Betamethasone and Calcipotriene

Overview

Betamethasone and calcipotriene in combination is used in the effective treatment of plaque psoriasis affecting the skin and scalp.

This medication is sold in the US under the brand names, Taclonex, Enstilar, and Taclonex Scalp.

Betamethasone is a corticosteroid. This part of the combination medication works by helping to relieve pain, itching, swelling, and redness that is caused by certain skin conditions. The other main active ingredient in the preparation is calcipotriene. Calcipotriene is a form of vitamin D. It changes the way in which the cells are produced in the areas of the skin that are affected by psoriasis.

Betamethasone and calcipotriene is only available from your doctor or dermatologist on prescription, and it comes in topical form as a foam, ointment, or suspension.

Conditions treated

  • psoriasis

Type of medicine

  • topical corticosteroid
  • foam
  • ointment
  • suspension

Side-effects

Together with the many benefits that betamethasone and calcipotriene can provide to sufferers of psoriasis, some patients experience a few unpleasant side-effects. Not everyone suffers side-effects when using this medication, but if you do notice any unusual or unpleasant effects, you should speak to your doctor, as you may need further medical attention.

The following side-effects are quite common in people taking betamethasone and calcipotriene and should be reported to your doctor immediately. Some people report burning, pain, and itching in areas where they have hair growth. Your skin may appear red or flushed, and it may be itchy. You might notice pus collecting at the roots of the hair, together with scaling or crusting of the skin. Your skin may become irritated and a scaly rash could develop. Your skin may become thinned and you will bruise more easily than usual. Your skin may feel unusually warm in some areas.

There are a number of side-effects that very rarely occur, and these are listed below. If you experience any of these effects, you should mention them to your doctor:

  • general aches and pains
  • an overall feeling of discomfort or being ‘ill’
  • a chill or fever
  • a cough, shivering, runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat
  • darkening of areas of the skin
  • breathing difficulties
  • diarrhea
  • congestion of the ears
  • headaches
  • pain in the joints
  • skin color appearing lighter than normal
  • loss of voice
  • loss of appetite
  • muscular pain, stiffness, or aching
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • raised, warty, dark red spots on the skin
  • sore, red eyes
  • blisters or pimples on your skin
  • sweating
  • insomnia
  • feeling unusually weak or tired
  • psoriasis becoming worse

You may experience some side-effects that will resolve by themselves as your body gets used to the new medication. Your dermatologist or doctor may suggest ways in which you can prevent or manage some of these unwanted effects. These effects include bruising, pain, large flat, purple or blue patches on your skin, odd blemishes, and pimples.

This list of side-effects is not necessarily all-inclusive. If you do begin to experience any other unusual effects, you should report them to your doctor or dermatologist straight away. If your skin reacts very badly to the medication, it is advisable to stop using it, until you have taken medical advice.

Dosage

When you receive this medication, you will be provided with a patient guide. Be sure to read the guide thoroughly to ensure that you understand how to use the medication. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist for further guidance.

You must only use this medication exactly as instructed by your doctor or dermatologist. Do not use more than the prescribed dose. Do not use it more often than you have been told to, and do not continue using the medication for longer than directed by your doctor. Note that using the medication too liberally or for too long could cause side-effects or skin irritation.

You should only use betamethasone and calcipotriene on your skin or scalp. Take care not to allow the drug to come into contact with your nose, eyes, mouth, or vagina. Do not apply the medication to your face, armpits, or groin area. Keep the medication well away from damaged areas on your skin or scalp where the skin is broken. In the event that you do get betamethasone and calcipotriene on any of these areas, wash it off with water immediately.

This medication works best if you use it for the full time of treatment as instructed by your medical practitioner. Do not omit any doses. Do not use this treatment for any skin condition other than the one for which it was prescribed for you by your doctor.

Do not bandage or cover the areas of skin that you are treating with this medication.

Using the foam

  • Make sure that you wash your hands after you use the medication and before.
  • Give the container a good shake before you use it.
  • Apply the foam to the affected areas of your skin, and then gently rub it in.
  • Use the foam within six months of opening it.
  • Do not use the medication near heat sources or an open flame; it is flammable.

Using the ointment

  • Make sure that you wash your hands with soap and water after you use the ointment and before.
  • Apply a thin layer of ointment to the areas of your skin that require treatment, and then gently rub it in.
  • Do not use the ointment for longer than eight weeks, unless you have been instructed to by your doctor or dermatologist.

Using the topical suspension

  • Make sure that you wash your hands with soap and water after you use the ointment and before.
  • Shake the bottle of medication well before use.
  • Part your hair carefully so that you can see the areas of your scalp requiring treatment.
  • Apply the medication to your scalp where necessary, and rub it in gently.
  • Do not have a shower or bath or wash your hair immediately after applying the suspension.
  • You should not use this medication for the 12 hours following or preceding using any chemical hair treatments. Seek your doctor’s advice on this first.
  • Do not use the suspension for longer than eight weeks, unless you have been instructed to by your doctor or dermatologist.

The prescribed dose of this medicine will vary between patients. Always keep to the instructions given to you by your doctor or those on the prescription label attached to the product. What follows is merely the average dose. Do not change your prescribed dose unless you are instructed to do so by your doctor. The frequency of use, quantity of medication, and time allowed between the doses will depend on the potency of the drug and the condition for which you are using it.

For the treatment of plaque psoriasis on the body - Foam

  • Adults: use on areas of affected skin once daily for a maximum of four weeks, or until the problem has resolved, or as instructed by your treating physician. Do not use in excess of 60 grams for every four days of treatment.
  • Children: Dose and use as instructed by your treating physician.

For the treatment of plaque psoriasis on the body- Ointment

  • Adults: use on areas of affected skin once daily for a maximum of four weeks, or until the problem has resolved, or as instructed by your treating physician. Do not use in excess of 100 grams per week.
  • Children 12 to 17 years: apply to affected areas once daily for up to four weeks, or until the problem has resolved, or as instructed by your treating physician. Do not use in excess of 60 grams for every week of treatment
  • Children under 12 years: Dose and use as instructed by your treating physician.

For the treatment of plaque psoriasis on the body- Suspension

  • Adults: use on areas of affected skin once daily for a maximum of four weeks, or until the problem has resolved, or as instructed by your treating physician. Do not use in excess of 100 grams per week.
  • Children: Dose and use as instructed by your treating physician.

For the treatment of plaque psoriasis of the scalp

  • Adults: use on problem areas of the scalp once daily for a maximum of eight weeks, or until the problem has resolved, or as instructed by your treating physician. Do not use in excess of 100 grams per week.
  • Children 12 to 17 years: apply to affected parts of the scalp once daily for up to eight weeks, or until the problem has resolved, or as instructed by your treating physician. Do not use in excess of 60 grams for every week of treatment
  • Children under 12 years: Dose and use as instructed by your treating physician.

If you forget a treatment of this medication, you should apply it as soon as possible. If the time of the next dose is almost due, omit the missed treatment and revert to your usual treatment schedule.

Do not share this medication with anyone else.

If you think that your psoriasis is actually getting worse or if your condition fails to improve while you are using betamethasone and calcipotriene, consult your doctor or dermatologist promptly.

If you think you may have overdosed, seek your doctor’s advice immediately or call 911.

Major drug interactions

Some types of medication should not be used at the same time. To do so could affect the efficacy of your medications and could also increase the risk of you experiencing unpleasant or serious side-effects. However, in some cases, it may be safe to use two or more different medications concurrently, even though an interaction may occur. In these circumstances, your doctor or dermatologist may decide to alter the dose of one of your drugs. Alternatively, your doctor may be able to suggest some ways in which you can manage the effect of any interactions.

Before you begin using betamethasone and calcipotriene, you should compile a list of all the medications that you use, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal remedies, and vitamin supplements. Give this list to your treating physician. Do not change the dose or frequency of any of your prescribed or non-prescription medications, without first consulting your doctor.

There are a number of products that may interact with betamethasone and calcipotriene. The use of any of the following medication is generally not recommended, although your doctor may elect to do so if appropriate to your treatment:

  • Valdecoxib
  • Tolmetin
  • Tolfenamic Acid
  • Tiaprofenic Acid
  • Tenoxicam
  • Sulindac
  • Sodium Salicylate
  • Salsalate
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Rotavirus live vaccine
  • Rofecoxib
  • Proquazone
  • Propyphenazone
  • Proglumetacin
  • Pranoprofen
  • Pixantrone
  • Piroxicam
  • Piketoprofen
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Parecoxib
  • Oxyphenbutazone
  • Oxaprozin
  • Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
  • Nimesulide
  • Niflumic Acid
  • Nepafenac
  • Naproxen
  • Nadroparin
  • Nabumetone
  • Morniflumate
  • Meloxicam
  • Mefenamic Acid
  • Meclofenamate
  • Lumiracoxib
  • Loxoprofen
  • Lornoxicam
  • Ketorolac
  • Ketoprofen
  • Indomethacin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Flurbiprofen
  • Flufenamic Acid
  • Floctafenine
  • Feprazone
  • Fepradinol
  • Fenoprofen
  • Felbinac
  • Etoricoxib
  • Etofenamate
  • Etodolac
  • Droxicam
  • Dipyrone
  • Diflunisal
  • Diclofenac
  • Dexketoprofen
  • Dexibuprofen
  • Clonixin
  • Choline Salicylate
  • Celecoxib
  • Bupropion
  • Bufexamac
  • Bromfenac
  • Bemiparin
  • Amtolmetin Guacil
  • Aldesleukin
  • Acemetacin
  • Aceclofenac

Using the following drugs with betamethasone and calcipotriene is not recommended as to do so may increase the risk of side-effects:

  • Tosufloxacin
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Saiboku-To
  • Rufloxacin
  • Rifapentine
  • Rifampin
  • Prulifloxacin
  • Primidone
  • Phenytoin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Pefloxacin
  • Pazufloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Norgestrel
  • Norgestimate
  • Norfloxacin
  • Norethindrone
  • Norelgestromin
  • Nadifloxacin
  • Moxifloxacin
  • Metocurine
  • Mestranol
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Licorice
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Levofloxacin
  • Hexafluorenium
  • Gemifloxacin
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Gallamine
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Flumequine
  • Fleroxacin
  • Etonogestrel
  • Ethynodiol Diacetate
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Estradiol Valerate
  • Estradiol Cypionate
  • Enoxacin
  • Drospirenone
  • Dienogest
  • Desogestrel
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Besifloxacin
  • Balofloxacin
  • Atracurium
  • Aspirin
  • Alcuronium

Some medication should not be used when consuming food or certain types of food, as interactions may occur. Interactions can also occur when using tobacco and alcohol. Check with your doctor if any of these interactions apply when using betamethasone and calcipotriene.

Warnings

While you are taking this medication, you must attend your doctor or specialist for regular progress checks. These check-ups are crucial as they enable your treating physician to make sure that your treatment is working as it should. You can also take the opportunity to mention any troublesome side-effects that you may be experiencing. Your doctor may carry out blood tests to look for any unwanted effects that the medication is causing.

Remember to tell your doctor if you are already taking any other medication, including non-prescription drugs, herbal remedies, or vitamin supplements. You should also tell your doctor if you suffer from allergies to certain foodstuffs, food colourings, preservatives, or animal derivatives.

If you have any of the following medical conditions, you must tell your doctor before you begin using this medication; using betamethasone and calcipotriene can make these conditions worse.

  • atrophy at the site to be treated
  • Cushing’s disease
  • diabetes
  • hyperglycemia
  • intracranial hypertension

Do not use this medication if you have any of the following conditions. To do so may increase the severity of the side-effects that you may suffer.

  • redness, peeling or pus on the skin
  • hypercalcemia
  • hypercalciuria
  • severe kidney disease
  • severe liver disease or liver failure
  • broken skin, large sores, severe skin damage at the application site

Patients, especially children, who use this medication over a long period of time or those who are using too much of it at risk of developing adrenal gland problems. Tell your doctor if you notice more than one of the following side-effects:

  • darkening of patches of the skin
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • poor appetite
  • depression
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rashes on the skin
  • feeling unusually weak or tired

Betamethasone and calcipotriene can cause an excess of calcium to accumulate in your body. If you experience more than one of the following side-effects, tell your doctor:

  • stomach pains
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • depression
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • incoherent speech
  • increased urination
  • poor appetite
  • a metallic taste
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea
  • thirst
  • unusual tiredness
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Tell your doctor if you are having UV light treatments (phototherapy) before commencing treatment with this medication.

Betamethasone and calcipotriene treatment can make you more sensitive to sunlight. Take precautions when venturing out into the sun by using sunblock and wearing protective clothing. Do not use tanning beds and sunlamps.

You should not use skin care products or cosmetics on areas of your skin that are being treated with this medication.

If you think you might be pregnant, tell your doctor. It is not known whether this medication can harm your unborn baby, but you may want to discuss the risks and benefits before you begin using it. It is unknown if this drug can pass into breast milk, but you might want to consider asking your doctor or midwife for more advice on alternatives for feeding your baby while you are using this medication.

Storage

You should always keep your supply of betamethasone and calcipotriene in a sealed, airtight container and at room temperature. Do not refrigerate or freeze the medication. Do not expose the medication to sources of extreme heat or direct sunlight. Do not allow the medication to get wet.

Store the bottle topical suspension in its carton when you are not using it, and use the medication within six months of opening the bottle.

Keep the can of foam at room temperature, well away from heat and direct sunlight. Never keep this product in a car where it could become extremely hot.

Always keep the medication where it cannot be reached by children or pets. If a pet does consume betamethasone and calcipotriene, you should seek veterinary advice immediately.

Do not keep any unused betamethasone and calcipotriene. Do not use any drugs that have passed their use-by date. Do not dispose of any unwanted medicine by flushing it down the toilet or drain. Do not discard unused medication with your trash. Never place unwanted cans of betamethasone and calcipotriene on a bonfire, even if they are empty. This medication is highly flammable and the cans will explode if burnt.

Ask the advice of your doctor or pharmacist on the safe disposal of any unused or unwanted medicines.

Summary

Betamethasone and calcipotriene in combination is used to treat plaque psoriasis, a skin condition affecting the scalp.

In the US, the medication is sold under the brand names, Taclonex, Enstilar, and Taclonex Scalp. The medication is only available from your doctor or dermatologist on prescription, and it comes in topical form as a foam, ointment, or suspension.

Betamethasone is a corticosteroid. It works by helping to relieve pain, itching, swelling, and redness that is caused by certain skin conditions. Calcipotriene is a form of vitamin D, which works by changing the way in which cells are produced in the areas of the skin that are affected by psoriasis.

There are a number of side-effects that users of this medication may experience, including skin irritation and some existing health conditions that may cause an interaction. Your treating physician will advise you as to whether your existing medication will need altering or whether any known interactions are manageable.

Betamethasone and calcipotriene is extremely effective in controlling and managing the symptoms of plaque psoriasis. If you are to enjoy the best results of treatment with this medication, you should work closely with your doctor or dermatologist in order to establish the dose and dosage schedule that are most effective in your case. This process will require that you attend your specialist for regular check-ups and blood tests. These tests and discussions are very important in order to make sure that the medication is working effectively and to ensure that there are no unwanted side-effects.

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Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017