Uses and Side Effects of Betamethasone Cream

What are the usages for betamethasone cream?

Betamethasone cream is used to treat skin infections that have not responded effectively to other over the counter preparations. The stronger strength of (.05) is used only on adults, as children‘s skin is too sensitive to withstand the sometimes caustic effects this cream has on the skin. There may be temporary local skin burning, itching, and dry skin.

Skin conditions such as eczema, plaque psoriasis are often the conditions which will respond well to Betamethasone cream. It is only available with a doctor’s prescription, and should not be used for longer than two weeks. The affected area should never be covered with any bandage, as the rash has to have ventilation in order for it to heal properly.

Betamethasone is a corticosteroid, in the same classification as cortisone. When the body is stressed from an infection, the body produces cortisol, from the adrenal gland. This drug suppresses the production of cortisol, making some people more susceptible to infection, as their immune system is compromised.

Any cortisone/steroid that mimics the body’s natural reactions has the possibility to be dangerous to the patient. There have been rare side effects of weight redistribution from one area of the body to another. The “bulking up” of muscles, the appearance of a “moon face” are side effects that while rare should be taken into consideration by your physician when prescribing this drug. As with any other drug prescription, only the person who is what prescribed for should use it, for the condition it was prescribed for. Under no circumstances should you allow this drug to be ingested or touch your eyes. Follow the directions explicitly. Only put a thin layer of the cream on the affected area, one or two times a day, depending on your condition and the instructions written by the doctor.

Often time’s people think that just because the prescription the doctor gave them worked on one skin rash, that it is a good idea to use it on other similar rashes; this activity could lead the patient to developing secondary infections, swelling, itching, which might require the need for antibiotics. A physician has to trust that he is getting a full medical history before prescribing any medication. There are certain contraindications with other medications the patient is on, that should be considered. For example if the patient is on an oral corticosteroid, and then puts a cream on his skin, the cream will get into his bloodstream and he might develop ill effects from too much o the steroid in his body.

Betamethasone cream (.01) is a weaker version of the (.05) cream, and is used for pediatric patients. In some cases it is used to loosen up too tight foreskin, a condition called phimosis, in order that circumcision does not have to be done. Especially overseas, where circumcision is not done routinely, physicians use betamethasone cream (.01) for this purpose.

Another use for betamethasone cream (.010) is to treat pediatric and adult cases of eczema. Eczema is often a virulent rash that itches a great deal. In infants it is usually due to an allergy to something that has come in contact with their skin, their bedding, their food or there is nothing any doctor can pinpoint as the cause for it. The first line of treatment usually is to moisturize the skin and avoid animal product based soaps, when this does not produce a cessation of the itchy rash, then a cortisone cream, like betasone (.01)is prescribed, for their body, not anywhere near their eyes or mouth where they might accidently ingest it. Usually this treatment will clear it up, but unless a cause is found for the eczema, it most probably will return intermittently throughout their lives. Stress seems to make the rash worse, but we really cannot totally eliminate stress in our lives. People can definitely learn how to manage it, and this management will assist the rash’s demise, at least temporarily.

As with the stronger strength betamazone cream, sometimes a secondary infection will develop due to the incessant itching, which allows staff and strep germs access via the cuts in the skin. In these cases, an antifungal or antibiotic might be prescribed, and the topical cream stopped, so that the body can fight the infection. In the larger scheme of things, the infection is really more of a medical concern than the rash is. If not addressed, it can lead to hospitalization, with intravenous medication being administered.

Betamethasone dipropionate is another treatment for psoriasis which is its major usages. Compared to plain betamethasone cream its effectiveness is enhanced due to the inclusion of dipropionate. Having said the adverse effects are also magnified. All cortosteriods are absorbed through the skin, into the blood stream, and metabolized in the liver. It is excreted by the kidneys and in some cases into the bile. Any physician who prescribes this drug to his patients has to weigh the benefits over the potential side effects of the drug. Psoriasis is an extremely resistant disfiguring disease that can manifest itself into rheumatoid arthritis as the patient gets older.

Betamethasone dipropionate is to be used only or patients who are over the age of twelve, in a sense, adults. Pediatric patients are not to be prescribed this drug, unlike betamethasone cream which at the lower strength (.01) can be used for children. Pregnant and nursing women should not be given these drugs as well, because there is some evidence that it does cross the placenta and can cause birth defects, such as cleft palate, umbilical hernias and hydrocephalic (water on the brain) children. While there is no direct evidence that betamethasone or betamethasone dipropionate is found in breast milk, if you were a parent, would you really want to take a chance?

In summary all topical corticosteroids treat a variety of skin problems, from eczema to psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and other rashes that have not responded to over the counter remedies. They should only be used for a limited amount of time over a small surface area of your body, never on the eyes or mouth.

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