Betamethasone Valerate (Topical)

Betamethasone valerate belongs to a class of medications called topical corticosteroids - these are anti-inflammatory agents that relieve the symptoms associated with skin conditions.

Overview

Betamethasone valerate is a synthetic corticosteroid for topical dermatologic use. It's used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis and seborrhea, and sometimes infections or severe burns. Psoriasis occurs when your immune system malfunctions, causing skin cells to grow too quickly. In some instances, stress, hormonal changes, environmental elements or allergic reactions to substances can cause skin conditions. Other skin conditions are inherited and develop during infancy - dermatitis and eczema are linked to genetics.

Our bodies produce corticosteroids naturally, yet some skin conditions require help to decrease the inflammation. This medicine works by inhibiting the release of certain immune system chemicals that cause the inflammation. It's a medium strength corticosteroid for relieving skin problems and helping to prevent infections.

Use it only for the prescribed condition. Depending on the severity, improvements happen after two weeks of consistent treatment. One precaution involves children: in large doses, this topical treatment could have serious side effects, so always supervise your children when they're using the cream.

Condition(s) treated

  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Pruritus
  • Scalp disease
  • Skin allergy
  • Rashes

Type of medicine

  • Topical anti-inflammatory corticosteroids

Side effects

Side effects are usually minimal when you use betamethasone valerate as directed by your doctor. Depending on your health and the severity of the condition, side effects will range from mild to severe and temporary or permanent. If you are worried about a side effect, talk with your doctor to discuss the risks and the benefits of this medicine.

If you have an allergy to the chemical compounds of this drug, be sure your doctor knows. Many of these effects are manageable and diminish over time. In some cases, when the cream is used over an extended period or applied to a large area of skin, the absorption rate may lead to an excess amount of corticosteroids in the body causing side effects.

The following is a list of possible side effects. You may experience an effect not listed; if so contact your doctor or pharmacist.

More common

  • Burning
  • Dryness
  • Irritation
  • Itching
  • Redness or skin
  • Skin rash
  • Stinging sensation

The following side effects are less common - in some cases, it may simply be how your body responds to the medicine, but it could also be an allergic reaction. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these effects or ones that are not listed.

Less common

  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • No improvement
  • Ongoing burning, itching and irritation
  • Skin discolorations
  • Skin infection
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Thinning of skin
  • Easy bruising

The following side effects are rare, but they could happen with improper use of this medicine. If you've been using it for long periods or you have existing conditions, it may cause an adverse reaction. If any of these effects occur, contact your doctor immediately.

Least common

  • Acne or oily skin
  • Backache
  • Blurring or loss of vision
  • Depression
  • Eye pain
  • Filling or rounding out of the face
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased hair growth
  • Increased loss of scalp hair
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle cramps, pain, or weakness
  • Nausea
  • Pus in the hair follicles
  • Rapid weight gain or loss
  • Reddish purple lines on arms, face, legs, trunk
  • Redness and scaling around the mouth
  • Softening of the skin
  • Stomach bloating, burning, cramping, or pain
  • Swelling of feet or lower legs
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness of the arms, legs, or trunk (severe)
  • White spots
  • Worsening of infections

Some side effects may not need medical attention; when starting new medicinal treatments, our body responds with a reaction as an alert. The effects subside as the body adjusts to the medicine, but if you are concerned or these side effects persist, contact your doctor. There may be an option to reduce or prevent these side effects.

Dosage

Many factors affect the dose an individual requires, including other medical conditions they may have, other medications they may currently be taking for existing health conditions, and their body weight. The dose of betamethasone valerate you take will, therefore, vary, and your doctor will determine the strength, frequency and duration needed to treat the condition based on your health and medical history to prevent the discomfort of side effects.

You need to follow the instructions given and should not change the dose unless your doctor approves. Any alteration in the dosage or frequency could cause serious health conditions and unsightly skin irritations.

This is a topical medicine - be careful when applying it to your skin.

  • Take extra precaution when treating young children.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Do not use it on skin areas that have cuts, scrapes, or burns.

If it does get on unaffected areas, rinse it with water several times right away.

This medication comes in several forms:

  • Gel/jelly
  • Ointment
  • Lotion
  • Cream

As a topical medicine treating skin conditions, it's best to use fingertip units to measure the dose, for example, starting from the tip of your index finger to the first crease. This dosage will treat an area of skin twice the size of an adult's hand and measures about half a gram. If you have questions, talk to your doctor for clarification on the dose.

The following are average doses - your doctor may adjust it if special circumstances exist. Use this medication at the same time each day to maintain a healthy balance of corticosteroid for healing the condition.

  • Adults - apply a small amount to the affected area one to three times per day.
  • Children - dosage and frequencies are determined by your doctor.

Allow the medicine to dry before covering the area with clothing that may rub against the skin. Do not wear tight fitting clothes or plastic garments and do not bandage or otherwise wrap the skin, unless directed by your doctor.

If the doctor has instructed you to cover the skin area with a bandage or an airtight covering, be sure you know how to use this type of covering. If you have any questions, check with your doctor.

Scalp treatments

Use a pair of plastic gloves when applying the medication to the scalp. Separate the hair and apply a small amount to the affected area. Gently massage and allow the medicine to dry. Do not wash or rinse the treated area - read the product instructions for specific directions. Do not use this medicine near heat, open flames or while smoking.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose, apply the medication as soon as possible, but do not double the dose in an attempt to catch up. You may cause an overdose effect to the skin, triggering redness, swelling or serious irritations. Continue the normal schedule and contact your doctor.

Interactions

Medicines are intended to improve our health, and most work well together, but there are certain medications that cause serious or unpleasant interactions to happen when they are used together. In response, your doctor may change the dose to alleviate the discomfort.

It's not always the medicine that causes the interactions. In some cases, dietary items, health supplements, herbs and over the counter medicine can trigger a reaction. Your own lifestyle choices, such as use of alcohol or tobacco, can affect the interaction of a drug. There are also medical treatments and other drugs that interact with corticosteroids - the severity of the reaction depends on your health condition and the dose of medication. If you experience any of the reactions, talk with your doctor.

Medications are blended mixtures of chemical compounds, with ingredients reacting to other drugs when they're used together. For betamethasone valerate, there are 54 major drug interactions, 606 moderate drug interactions and 79 minor drug interactions.

If you are taking any of the following drugs, let your doctor know - you may experience various levels of interaction. If you're not sure about the medicines your take, your doctor can help in deciphering each of these drugs and the potential effects for you.

  • Adalimumab
  • Certolizumab
  • Cinoxacin
  • Deferasirox
  • Delafloxacin
  • Desirudin
  • Etanercept
  • Fingolimod
  • Gatifloxacin
  • Golimumab
  • Grepafloxacin
  • Infliximab
  • Iohexol
  • Iopamidol
  • Levofloxacin
  • Lomefloxacin
  • Metrizamide
  • Mifepristone
  • Nalidixic acid
  • Natalizumab
  • Norfloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Talimogene laherparepvec
  • Teriflunomide
  • Thalidomide
  • Tofacitinib
  • Trovafloxacin

Vaccines known to interact with this medicine:

The following is a list of health conditions affected by betamethasone - there may be other conditions so, for your own safety, check with your doctor.

Your own unique composition and health conditions may have interactions not listed - in this case, contact your doctor. There may be an underlying cause to the reaction and your doctor can help to prevent the effects.

Warnings

Health warnings are based on the drug's benefits, outweighing the risks for the condition the drug will treat for the majority population. When deciding to use this medicine, you need to understand the risks and the benefits associated with drug and the potential effects, your own health may contribute before starting treatment.

According the US Food and Drug Administration, there are no safety alerts on this drug, but it's difficult to predict how your body will respond to any type of medication. To help with these predictions, make sure your doctor knows about your current medical conditions, allergies and medications - both prescription and non-prescription - that you're on before you start using the cream.

If your doctor has recommended a different dose or method of application, do not change how you use this medication without talking to your doctor. Furthermore, if you have not consulted your doctor, do not stop applying this medication. Do not share it with anyone else, even if they have the same or similar symptoms to you, as it can be harmful to their health if they use a medication that they have not been prescribed.

If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, share any important details about your health with your doctor, because all of this information ensures the best treatment of your condition. Studies on immune suppression related to betamethasone corticosteroids showed adverse effects and risks to fetuses. Infants born to mothers treated with substantial doses of corticosteroids during pregnancy are monitored for signs of underactivity of the adrenal glands, creating a deficiency of the natural production of steroid hormone cortisol; this is a condition that can be fatal.

Taking this medication could affect existing conditions you have. As such, it's important that you talk with your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Poor blood circulation
  • Diabetes
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Immune system problems

If you are allergic to corticosteroids, hydrocortisone or prednisone, you may have a reaction to this medicine. If you have scheduled dental work, surgery or treatment for a serious illness or injury, the medical staff needs to know you are using this medication or have used it in the past.

If your child is using this medicine, follow your doctor's instructions very carefully. Children are susceptible to side effects when this medicine is used in excess - if there are signs of redness or sensitivity to touch, contact your doctor. Chronic use of corticosteroid may suppress growth and development of a child being treated, so watch for reactions to the medicine. Chronic situations, such as those involving infants under the age of eight months who are being treated for diaper dermatitis, are monitored for the development of Cushing's syndrome. Toxicity levels are unlikely with acute conditions.

Treatment Precautions

Living organisms entering our body can cause infections. Some are harmless, but others can trigger a more serious health condition. Do not use betamethasone valerate on any type of infection - applying this medicine to the affected skin will only increase the risk of serious skin infections. If you experience pain, inflammation or drainage, it's time to call the doctor.

The skin covering our eyes is much thinner, making it more sensitive to this medication - take extra precautions when applying it around the eye. Also, avoid getting it in your eye - it can cause com/health/coma/">glaucoma or cataracts. If you experience changes in your vision, see your doctor.

Storage

Store this medicine in a closed cabinet away from heat, moisture and direct light. Keep it out of the reach of children or pets - there may not be a child resistant cap on this medicine.

Discard it when you have completed the treatment or reach the date of expiration. If you're not sure about how to dispose of this medicine, ask your doctor, pharmacist or contact a local health care facility. Most of the professional contacts are involved in take-back programs for unused or expired medicines.

Summary

Betamethasone valerate is a topical corticosteroid medication. It is an anti-inflammatory that relieves symptoms of skin conditions. There are limitations on duration and dosage when using this medication. Side effects are usually minimal, so unless you are experiencing severe side effects, before you stop this medication, you should talk with the doctor. You may find there's an alternative for preventing a relapse of your condition.

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Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018