Betamethasone Dipropionate (Topical)

Used primarily as an ointment, cream, or gel, betamethasone dipropionate can be effective in treating irritations of the skin, including psoriasis and some types of rashes.

Overview

Betamethasone dipropionate is made available in several forms, including as a spray, lotion, ointment, cream, and as a gel, but all of these forms contain medicine which acts as a corticosteroid for the relief of various types of skin disorders.

For the treatment of adult plaque psoriasis, the most effective form is a topical spray, but in most other manifestations of skin disorder such as itching, swelling, and redness, one of the other forms is most often used. It is available only by prescription, and should only be administered under a doctor's supervision.

Condition Treated

Type of Medicine

  • Synthetic adrenocorticosteroid

Side Effects

In addition to its intended effects in treating skin disorders, betamethasone dipropionate may have some unwanted side effects which you should always be on the lookout for, and these can range from commonly occurring effects to those which are extremely rare, as noted below.

Some of the more common side effects which patients may experience are burning or stinging at the site of application, and this may subside into an uncomfortable itching. Some of the less common side effects of using this medicine are scaling, redness, and soreness or swelling of the skin in the vicinity of the application site. Other less common side effects are:

  • flaking of the skin
  • blistering
  • dryness or crusting
  • cracking or tightening the skin
  • unusual warmth around the area of application
  • and a tendency toward thinning of the skin, which may lead to easy bruising
  • In some cases, patients using this medication have experienced peeling, blistering or a noticeable loosening of the skin.

Some kinds of side effects which occur with betamethasone dipropionate usage are relatively rare and are as follows:

  • warts or pimples on the skin, especially in facial areas
  • itching and burning on skin areas which have growing hair, sometimes including pus at the roots of these hairs
  • tiny red blisters on the skin
  • excess hair growth on the legs, arms, back, or forehead
  • lightened skin color at the site of application
  • markings which appear reddish or purple in color on the face, legs, arms or groin
  • unusual skin softness near the area of treatment

Dosage

The actual dosage for each individual patient using betamethasone dipropionate is likely to be somewhat different, since the skin conditions being treated will be different, and each patient's reaction to the medication will likewise be somewhat different. That makes it very important that you follow your doctor's directions strictly, and do not deviate from the program of treatment recommended.

The dosages listed below are not intended to be guidelines for individual usage, but are average doses used by typical patients who make use of betamethasone dipropionate. Your specific dosage will actually depend on the strength of the medication you are using, as well as the number of treatments that you undergo each day. The duration of your treatment program will depend on the specific kind of medical problem being treated, but in all cases the full amount of any medication you are given should be completely used up during treatment.

For any kind of topical dosage making use of betamethasone dipropionate in its forms of ointment, lotion, cream, or gel, both adults and teenagers should apply the medication to the affected area of skin either once or twice daily, per your doctor's directions. Children up to the age of 12 are not advised to use this medication, because of the potential for toxic absorption through the skin. Topical usage of betamethasone dipropionate in these forms should only be used for the treatment of itching, swelling of the skin, and redness.

When using the medicine in its spray form, the only medical condition which is appropriate for usage is mild to moderate plaque psoriasis in adults. Children should not be using the spray form of betamethasone dipropionate, since it can be absorbed through the skin. Teen and adult usage of the spray form of betamethasone dipropionate calls for the application to the affected skin area twice each day, for a period not to exceed four weeks in succession.

If you should miss a regularly scheduled application of betamethasone dipropionate, you can apply it as soon as you do think of it, unless you are getting close to the time of the next scheduled application. In that case, it is better to just skip the missed dosage, because you would run the risk of doubling up your dosage if done at such close intervals, and this is not advisable.

Major Drug Interactions

There is a total of 66 other drugs which are known to have some level of interaction with betamethasone dipropionate, and you should consult with your doctor about these. It will be especially important that you review all other medications which you are taking, because some of these may contain the drugs which are known to interact with betamethasone dipropionate. In general terms, the most prominently interacting drugs are other corticosteroids, such as prednisone. Your doctor can advise you about the discontinuance of other drugs while using this medication.

In terms of existing medical conditions which interact with betamethasone dipropionate, there are several, and if you have any of these conditions, your doctor will probably not prescribe this medication until those other conditions have cleared up first. The medical conditions in this category are:

  • Diabetes
  • Many types of rashes
  • Various skin infections
  • Ocular toxicities
  • Hyperadrenocorticism

Warnings

When using betamethasone dipropionate, there are some precautions which should be observed along with several warnings, and these should be considered in relation to the benefits which would accrue by usage. This is a discussion you should have with your family doctor before deciding to use the medication. The following section will consider some of the precautions which should be weighed prior to using betamethasone dipropionate.

Any allergies that you may have should be taken into consideration before using this medicine, beginning with any known reactions you have to the medication itself, or any of its ingredients. If you have any known allergies to other substances such as foods, dyes, animals, or preservatives, these should all be discussed in detail with your doctor. When purchasing food items or other medications over the counter, you should carefully read the ingredients to be sure that none of them will cause a reaction with betamethasone dipropionate.

With regard to pediatric usage, this medication should not be administered to children under the age of 13, because it contains a relatively high level of toxicity. Since these toxic ingredients are absorbed especially well by children through their skin, it can lead to some unpleasant side effects, which would outweigh the value of using the medicine in the first place. All children, including those over the age of 13, should only use betamethasone dipropionate under careful supervision, and any side effects should be closely monitored and reported to the family doctor.

Thus far, there have been no problematic side effects reported with the usage of betamethasone dipropionate in geriatric users. However, it should be noted that this is not so much because there are absolutely no side effects, but it has more to do with the fact that no serious research or studies have been performed with relation to geriatric usage and possible resulting side effects. Therefore, it cannot be said with certainty that geriatric users are immune from the effects of potential harm, so as is the case with all other users, there should be a careful monitoring for the potential manifestation of side effects.

Women who are currently pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, should inform your doctor about these plans, if a program of treatment with betamethasone dipropionate is being considered. While no extensive studies have been performed on the impact of this medication during pregnancy, it cannot be said with any certainty that there is no relationship between the two. Similarly, it is not known if any of the medication contained in betamethasone dipropionate is passed on to infants during breastfeeding. Therefore, the safest policy is to avoid breastfeeding while using this medication, or at the very least, discussing the risks involved with your doctor.

There are certain other medical problems which may affect your usage of betamethasone dipropionate, and if you have any of these, you should have a thorough discussion with your family doctor:

  • Perioral dermatitis
  • rosacea (patients with rosacea should avoid using the gel form of betamethasone dipropionate)
  • liver failure or liver problems, because any side effects experienced may be exacerbated
  • skin infections anywhere near the site of medication application
  • sores of any significant size, broken skin, or serious skin injury near the application site
  • high blood sugar
  • intracranial hypertension (this condition could be significantly worsened by using betamethasone dipropionate)
  • diabetes
  • adrenal gland disorder

This medication should only be used as directed by your physician, and it should not be used more often than you are directed to do so. In addition, no excess amounts should be used, and it should not be applied for a longer period of time than recommended by your doctor, since any of these extensions may trigger undesirable skin irritation or other side effects.

Betamethasone dipropionate is intended for usage only on the skin, and should be kept well away from the mouse, eyes, and vagina. Even on the skin, the medicine should be kept away from areas which have open sores, scrapes, cuts, rashes, or burns. If the medicine should be accidentally applied to any such areas, it should be immediately wiped off with warm water.

When issued by your pharmacist, betamethasone dipropionate will be accompanied by an instructional brochure or leaflet which outlines proper usage and precautions to be observed, and this should be read cover to cover very carefully. Any questions that you may have about the material contained in this leaflet should be reviewed with your family doctor.

The medication is intended for usage only for those conditions which have been identified by your doctor, and should not be used to treat any other skin conditions you may have. Do not use betamethasone dipropionate for severe burns or any kind of skin infections.

In order to completely clear up the skin condition being treated, you should use all of the medication you're provided with, for the full period of treatment, even if you observe a significant improvement in your skin condition well before the full amount has been used.

Betamethasone dipropionate in any of its forms should not be used on the face, underarms, scalp, or groin unless you are explicitly advised to do so by your doctor, and you should also not use this medication on any areas which may rub or touch other areas of the skin, and create friction.

Storage

Betamethasone dipropionate should always be stored at room temperature, away from any extremes of hot or cold temperature, and away from sources of high moisture. It should be kept well out of the reach of curious children and any pets which might break into it. Direct light is not good for the medication, so this is another condition which should be avoided at all times.

You should not keep or use any of this medicine if it has reached or exceeded its expiration date, and in the case of the spray form of betamethasone dipropionate, it should be discarded after the four-week period has expired. If you are uncertain about proper disposal methods to be used with this medicine, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

Summary

Betamethasone dipropionate can be a very effective medication in the treatment of various skin disorders such as psoriasis and certain types of persistent skin rashes. It is made available in several different forms, including gels, ointments, sprays, creams, and lotions, but only the spray form should be used in the treatment of adult plaque psoriasis. The other forms can all be used to treat the irritations and rashes which may be improved through its usage.

This medication has a relatively high degree of toxicity, and should therefore not be used by children under the age of 13, because the toxic ingredients are absorbed especially well by people at this age, and problems can result. Also because of its potential toxicity, it should always be used only as directed by a doctor, and should never be given to any other person who may have skin conditions which are similar to the patient under treatment.

Most known side effects of betamethasone dipropionate are relatively mild, and relate to issues which develop on the skin around the site of application. If any of these side effects are manifested, you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible, so a decision can be made to alter dosage or discontinue usage.

This medication is not indicated for usage in patients with open sores, burns, or infections, and any of these conditions would have to be cleared up in advance of any treatment program involving betamethasone dipropionate. The medication should always be fully used up, even if noticeable improvement occurs well before it runs out.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018
Content Source: