The text below is about the active substance betamethasone
what is betamethasone?
- Betamethasone inhibits inflammation and reduces scaling, itching and swelling.
- This medicine is an adrenal cortex hormone (corticosteroid).
- For inflammations of the skin, such as eczema, insect stings, psoriasis , lupus erythematosus (LE) and photosensitivity.
- You will have less itching within a few hours.
- After a few days, redness and flaking are less.
- Check the site how much you need to lubricate. The amount is indicated in fingertip marks per skin area. If you apply too thinly, the medicine will not work properly.
- Do not use more than 100 grams per week (adults). If you use more, you run the risk of side effects in the body.
- Do you use betamethasone in the same place every day for a few weeks? Then the skin becomes thinner there. You will get wounds or bruises on that spot more quickly.
- Also use a greasy cream every day against irritation of the skin. The inflamed spots will then stay away longer.
what is betamethasone used for?
Betamethasone belongs to the adrenal cortex hormones or corticosteroids . When applied to the skin, they inhibit inflammation, reduce flaking, have an itch-relieving effect and reduce swelling .
Adrenal cortex hormones used on the skin are classified by strength. Betamethasone is one of the highly effective adrenal cortex hormones.
Betamethasone is used for many skin conditions. The main conditions for which doctors prescribe it are eczema, psoriasis , itching, Lupus Erythematosus (LE) and photosensitivity .
- Eczema is an itchy rash where the skin can be red, swollen, flaky, stiff and dry. There may also be blisters on the skin or the skin may be moist. The itching makes you tend to scratch, causing further damage to the skin.
- Eczema can have a variety of causes, such as allergy, stress, hypersensitivity, dehydration and irritants.
- With eczema it is important to grease dry skin, so that the irritation and itching are reduced. Therefore, lubricate the skin at least once a day with an emollient cream or ointment, without active ingredient. Your doctor can prescribe this for you by prescription.
- The creams and ointments keep the skin supple and prevent the skin from drying out further.
- In addition to an emollient cream, your doctor will usually prescribe a skin remedy with adrenal cortex hormones, such as hydrocortisone acetate or triamcinolone acetonide. If these drugs are not working enough, your doctor may try betamethasone. In very severe eczema, your doctor may advise you to start using betamethasone immediately.
- Betamethasone inhibits inflammation, relieves itching and reduces swelling.
- This allows the skin to recover: itching, dryness and flaking are reduced. The skin will look better and will be smoother.
- After you apply the medicine, it will continue to work for between twelve hours to a day. If you apply it for several days in a row, a ‘supply’ is created in the skin. This keeps it working for several days without having to re-apply it.
- You will have less itching within a few hours. After a few days, redness and flaking are less.
- In psoriasis, the top layer of the skin grows too quickly. This creates thickenings and flakes. The skin can also be inflamed and very itchy. The severity of the condition ranges from one to two small spots to extensive peeling of the skin. Periods of spontaneous improvement or deterioration are characteristic. The cause of psoriasis is unknown.
- For psoriasis, your doctor usually first prescribes a strong adrenal cortex hormone such as this medicine. If you have complaints on the face or in the body folds, your doctor will first recommend a less strong adrenal cortex hormone, such as clobetasone or triamcinolone acetonide. If that doesn’t work enough after a few weeks, your doctor may prescribe a stronger adrenal cortex hormone, such as this drug.
- Do you have a lot of itching? Therefore, lubricate with a soothing cream or ointment, without active ingredient. Your doctor can prescribe this for you by prescription. You can use that cream or ointment as often as you want.
- Betamethasone reduces excessive skin growth and redness, inhibits inflammation and relieves itching. This allows the skin to relax and will therefore itch less and look better.
- If you apply it for several days in a row, a ‘stock’ is created in the skin, so that it will continue to work for a few days, without applying it again.
- After you have applied the medicine thinly, it will work for between twelve hours and a whole day. You will have less itching within a few hours. After a few days, redness and flaking are less.
For the skin
- Insect bites can cause severe itching. Usually this will pass by itself. A cooling (menthol) gel often helps enough.
- If the itching continues, or if the skin reacts violently to the insect bite, the doctor can sometimes prescribe betamethasone. This calms the itching and helps to reduce the skin complaints.
- You will have less itching within a few hours.
Lupus Erythematodes (LE)
- This disease can manifest itself in different ways. One of these manifestations is usually red spots on the face, especially on the nose. But they can also be located on the chest, hands, feet, elbows and knees.
- The severity and form of the skin condition vary widely. Some people hardly suffer from it, with others the symptoms are very striking. The spots can be small and flat, on the skin or in it. In the latter case, the spots are often painful. Periods of spontaneous improvement or deterioration are characteristic of LE.
- Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease. This means that the immune system is directed against the body. The cause of this is unknown. With this disease you can also experience inflammation in other organs in the body, this is called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).
- The skin complaints of this condition can be treated with a strong adrenal cortex hormone, such as this drug.
- Betamethasone reduces redness and inhibits inflammation. After you have spread the medicine thinly, it will work for between twelve hours and a day. You will notice that the redness and swelling subside within days.
Photosensitivity to light is also known as sun allergy. Sunlight contains UV-A light and UV-B light. With sunburn, UV-B light is the main culprit; with sun allergy, that is UV-A light.
- If your skin is hypersensitive to sunlight, you will develop a rash after being in the sun. You will get itching, redness, hives and flaking skin. Usually the skin irritation starts when the sun gets stronger. So in the spring or the beginning of the summer. The complaints can get worse every year.
- It is often unknown why the skin reacts hypersensitive to the sun.
- In case of hypersensitivity to light, the advice is to avoid sunlight as much as possible. In less severe forms, you can also gradually accustom your skin to the sun in the spring. Use a good sunscreen. You can also get used to your skin by undergoing light therapy in the spring.
- If getting used to the skin does not help, the doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory cream or ointment such as betamethasone.
Betamethasone inhibits inflammation on the skin and reduces itching, redness and flaking. You will have less itching within a few hours. You will notice that the redness and scaling diminishes within a few days.
In addition to the desired effect, this can cause drug side effects.
The main side effects are the following.
Rare (affects 1 to 10 in 100 people)
- Skin infections. This medicine can mask the symptoms of a skin infection. So you are less likely to notice that the skin is infected with a bacteria, fungus or virus. After all, the symptoms of an infection , such as itching, swelling and redness, are less common. The infections can therefore easily spread unnoticed. Therefore, do not use this medicine on an area of the skin that you know or suspect is infected with a fungus, bacteria or virus. So, for example, not on or near athlete’s foot, ulcers, shingles and a cold sore. If you are also taking a medicine against this infection , you can still apply it.
- Hypersensitivity to betamethasone or any of the ingredients of this skin product. You will notice this by a worsening of the skin condition or by the fact that the skin condition does not go away. Consult your doctor if you suspect hypersensitivity. If you appear to be hypersensitive, please inform the pharmacist. The pharmacy team can ensure that you do not receive the medicine again.
Very rare (affects less than 1 in 100 people)
- When applied to acne spots: a worsening of acne . Consult your doctor if this affects you.
- In people with the skin disease psoriasis , fluid-filled blisters develop. Consult your doctor if this affects you.
After use for more than three weeks
Rare (affects 1 to 10 in 100 people)
- Thinner skin , which makes you more likely to get cuts or bruises. Discontinue use if you notice this. The skin can then recover. Because of this side effect , do not use this medicine on thin skin, such as the face and genitals. Old people have very thin skin. That is why they should use this medicine extra sparingly.
- Scar-like streaks (stretch marks), red spots, fading, or, conversely, a darkening of the skin where you apply this medicine. These skin lesions are usually permanent. Consult your doctor for these symptoms.
- If used on the face: red, itchy rash around the mouth, nose or eyes. Sometimes painful or with flaking. Then consult your doctor. These symptoms usually disappear on their own when you stop taking this medicine.
Very rare (affects less than 1 in 100 people)
- More hair growth where you applied the medicine.
- Slower healing of wounds . Therefore, only apply it to broken skin on the advice of your doctor.
- Cataracts , if this medicine accidentally gets into the eye. Therefore, do not use this medication near the eye. Be careful when smearing on the face.
- In people with glaucoma (increased eye pressure), this drug can further increase eye pressure. You may notice blurred vision, reduced vision, a red or swollen eye, severe pain in the eye or face, nausea and vomiting. Consult your doctor immediately if you have these symptoms. You are more likely to get this if some of this medicine accidentally gets into your eyes. This side effect can also arise if a lot of medicine has entered the blood through the skin and has been able to reach the eye. Usually, your doctor will advise you not to use this medication on the face for more than two weeks.
- If you suddenly stop taking this medicine, the symptoms may return . You will notice this in an intensely red skin, burning sensation and tingling. Also in places on the skin where you had no complaints before. Therefore, gradually reduce the use. Discuss this with your doctor. See also section ‘How do I use this medicine’.
With long-term use of several weeks to months
Very rare (affects less than 1 in 100 people)
- Temporary reduction in the function of the adrenal cortex . As a result, you can temporarily suffer from severe fatigue after stopping. This is more likely if you are taking large amounts of this drug. For example, if an adult uses more than 50 grams of ointment or cream per week for several months.
Consult your doctor if you experience too much of any of the above side effects or if you experience any other side effects that worry you.
- Regular : affects more than 30 in 100 people
- Uncommon : affects 10 to 30 in 100 people
- Rare : affects 1 to 10 in 100 people
- Very rare : affects less than 1 in 100 people
Your doctor has likely instructed you on how often and when to apply this drug. It is helpful to write down this instruction for later reference. Always check the pharmacy label for the correct dosage .
- It is important that you apply the correct amount of adrenal corticosteroid hormone (corticosteroid) to your skin. Smearing too thick causes side effects. But using it too thinly means that the agent does not work properly. A spread (lotion, skin emulsion) should not drip off. In the picture you can see what the correct amount of cream or ointment is for which body part. In this picture, the quantity is shown as Finger Tip Unit (FTU). An FTU (fingertip line) is equivalent to a line of cream or ointment the same length as an adult’s fingertip. How many fingertip marks you need depends on the body part you need to rub.
- Then wash the finger with which you applied the medicine with some soap. You can also use plastic gloves or a ‘finger condom’ for application. This is a case that you put on over the finger. It’s available in your pharmacy.
- Sometimes the doctor advises covering the smeared areas with plastic film or bandages. This enhances the effect, but also increases the risk of some side effects.
- Do not use more than one hundred grams per adult per week. If you use more, you are more likely to have some side effects.
- Do not smear this medication near the eyes. If it accidentally gets into the eye, rinse the eye well with water to remove the medicine.
Skin conditions, such as Eczema, Psoriasis , Itching and Lupus Erythematosus (LE)
Apply the medicine at a time when you know you will not get water on the skin for the next half hour or else you rinse it off. It is therefore best to apply it before the night.
- Apply to the skin condition when it worsens or comes back on. You often start with once or twice a day. When the complaints diminish, switch to applying once a day. It is best not to use this medicine after a few days of lubrication. For example, apply this medicine for four days a week and then not for three days.
- Use the greasy cream that your doctor usually prescribes every day. This prevents irritation of the skin, so that the inflamed areas stay away longer.
- You apply the medicine twice a day. Apply the medicine at a time when no water gets on the skin for the next half hour. Otherwise, the medicine will wash off again.
Skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis , itching and Lupus Erythematosus (LE)
If you use this medicine for some time in a row, the effect may decrease.
- If you only need to use the drug temporarily, don’t smear it for more than about three weeks. If you do not apply betamethasone for a few days afterwards, the effectiveness will return.
- If you need to use this medication for a long time , preferably don’t apply it for more than a few days at a time. Then only use a cream or ointment without active ingredient and then alternate this with a few days of betamethasone. As a result, the effectiveness keeps returning.
- Sometimes the doctor will indicate to continue using this medicine for two to three weeks in a row for the first time and then to interrupt the treatment after a few days.
- Once the itching and redness subside, you can taper off this drug. Then lubricate it no more than once a day and skip more days. Continue this until the complaints have disappeared. Your doctor can give you a tapering schedule for this. It is important to taper off use slowly. Because if you stop suddenly, your skin complaints may return.
You may use this medicine for a maximum of 7 days.
Look for the correct dosage on the pharmacy label.
Your doctor has probably told you how often and when to apply this medicine to your child or how often to apply this medicine on their own. It is useful to write down this instruction so that you can review it later. Always check the pharmacy label for the correct dosage.
- Wash hands before applying the medication.
- It is important that you apply the correct amount of cream, liniment or ointment to the skin. Smearing too thick causes side effects. But using it too thinly will make the medicine insufficiently effective. A liniment should not drip off. In the picture you can see what the correct amount of cream or ointment is for which body part. In this picture, the quantity is shown as Finger Tip Unit (FTU). An FTU (fingertip line) is equivalent to a line of cream or ointment the same length as an adult’s fingertip. How many fingertip marks the child needs depends on the body part you need to rub.
- Then wash the finger you applied the medicine with with some soap. You can also use plastic gloves or a ‘finger condom’ for application. This is a case that you put on over the finger. It is available in pharmacies.
- Sometimes the doctor advises covering the smeared areas with plastic film or bandages. This enhances the effect, but also increases the risk of side effects.
- If it accidentally gets into the eye, rinse the eye well with water to remove the drug.
Atopic eczema, psoriasis and lupus erythematosus
- It is best to apply the medicine to the child at night. Apply the medicine at a time when no water gets on the skin for the next half hour. Otherwise, the medicine will wash off again.
- Apply to the skin if the complaint worsens or reappears. The child often starts with lubricating 1 to 2 times a day. When the complaints diminish, the child switches to smearing once a day. Sometimes the doctor advises the child not to use this medicine after a few days of lubrication. For example, apply this medicine for 4 days a week and then no 3 days.
- Often the doctor also prescribes a soothing and protective greasy cream or ointment. This cream or ointment does not contain active ingredients. It keeps the skin supple and prevents the skin from drying out further. This prevents irritation of the skin, so that the inflamed areas stay away longer. Does your child also use other creams and / or ointments? Then wait 15 to 30 minutes after applying the betamethasone before you or the child apply the other cream or ointment. By waiting 15 to 30 minutes, the skin will have time to absorb the betamethasone.
You often apply betamethasone twice a day. Choose fixed times for this, then you will forget to use it less quickly. For example in the morning and in the evening before you go to sleep. Apply the medicine at a time when no water gets on the skin for the next half hour. Otherwise, the medicine will wash off again.
You apply the medicine twice a day. Apply the medicine at a time when no water gets on the skin for the next half hour. Otherwise, the medicine will wash off again.
Atopic eczema, psoriasis and lupus erythematosus (LE)
- If the child uses this medicine for some time in a row, the effect may decrease.
- If the child only needs to use the drug temporarily, don’t smear it for more than about 3 weeks. If the child does not use betamethasone for several days afterwards, the effectiveness will return.
- If the child needs to take this medication for a long time, preferably don’t lubricate it for more than a few days at a time. Then only use a greasy cream or ointment without active ingredient and then alternate this with a few days of betamethasone. As a result, the effectiveness keeps returning.
- Sometimes the doctor will indicate to use this medicine for 2 to 3 weeks in a row for the first time and then to interrupt the treatment after a few days.
- Your child should taper off use slowly. Because if your child stops suddenly, the skin complaints can return. Discuss this with the doctor. This can give your child a reduction schedule. Continue to take good care of the skin with an oily ointment or cream while tapering off this medication. Do this even if your child has stopped taking this medicine completely.
Your child usually takes this medicine for 4 to 8 weeks.
Your child may take this medicine for a maximum of 7 days.
- When using this medication, be guided by the severity of your condition. Therefore, use the drug if the condition worsens and reduce the use if the symptoms decrease.
- There is no point in applying double the amount. It does increase the risk of side effects. If you accidentally wash off the medicine right after application, you can reapply it.
- Constitutional eczema : after applying the skin, your child notices that the itching decreases quickly and that the redness disappears within a few days.
- Psoriasis: Your child will notice that the itching decreases rapidly and the redness and scaling decrease within a few days.
- Lupus erythematosus: Your child will notice that the redness and swelling is getting better within a few days.
- Photosensitivity : your child will notice that the itching decreases quickly after applying and that the redness decreases within a few days.
After you have spread the medicine thinly, it will work for between 12 to 24 hours. If you apply it for several days in a row, a ‘supply’ is created in the skin. This keeps it working for several days without your child applying it again.
- Fimose : Usually the foreskin can be slid back smoothly within 4 to 8 weeks.
Can I drive a car, drink alcohol, and eat or drink anything with this medicine?
drive a car, drink alcohol and eat everything?
There are no restrictions for this with this medication.
Can I use betamethasone on the skin with other medications?
Do not apply other skin remedies to the affected areas at the same time. You then have the chance that you will smear this medicine with the following. First, smear the corticosteroid on the skin. Then wait at least 1 hour before applying the greasy cream or ointment, which your doctor usually also prescribed.
Can I use this medicine if I am pregnant, planning to become or breastfeeding?
Is betamethasone safe during pregnancy?
- For a week, you can safely use this medication during pregnancy if the area you put it on is less than the area of a leg. In that case, it has no adverse consequences for the child. Longer than a week of use gives the chance of a growth inhibition of the child.
- Taking this drug for more than a week is only responsible when you and your doctor have weighed the severity of your condition against the risks of the drug to the child. If you have any questions about this, please ask your doctor.
- Women who are breast-feeding their child can use betamethasone in small amounts on the skin. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist. Don’t smear it on or around the nipples if you want to feed right after.
- Are you on prescription or over-the-counter medications? Would you like to help increase knowledge about medicines during pregnancy and breastfeeding? Then report your experience to pREGnant .
- You cannot just stop taking this drug. Your skin complaints may then return. Discuss this with your doctor. Your doctor can give you a tapering schedule. Continue to take good care of your skin with an oily ointment or cream while you are tapered off with this medication. Continue to do this even if you have stopped taking this medicine completely.
- If you are taking betamethasone for several weeks and you are using more than 100 grams of cream or ointment per week, your adrenal glands may have gotten used to it. In that case you cannot just stop, but you have to reduce the use over a few days.
Do I need a prescription?
Betamethasone has been on the market internationally since 1961. It is available by prescription under the brand names Betnelan and Diprosone and as the unbranded Betamethasone. It is available in a cream, liniment (lotion, skin emulsion) and ointment.
Betamethasone is also used on the skin in combination with other active substances under the brand names Diprosalic, Diprolene ( betamethasone in propylene glycol ), Dovobet ( calcipotriol with betamethasone on the skin ) and Xamiol ( calcipotriol with betamethasone on the skin ).