About clobetasol propionate
|Type of medicine||Very potent topical corticosteroid|
|Used for||Inflammatory skin conditions such as severe eczema|
|Also called||Clarelux®, Dermovate®, Etrivex®|
|Available as||Cream, ointment, scalp application (as liquid or foam), and shampoo|
Clobetasol propionate is a very potent topical corticosteroid (also referred to as a strong topical steroid). Topical steroids are used in addition to emollients (moisturisers) for treating inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. A topical steroid is used when patches of your skin condition flare up. It is not a cure for your condition, but it will help to relieve the symptoms of a flare-up by reducing inflammation, itching and redness.
Short courses of clobetasol propionate are also useful in the treatment of psoriasis. You will only have been prescribed this topical steroid for psoriasis if you have been seen by a skin specialist.
There are also clobetasol propionate preparations available which contain the antibacterial agents, neomycin and nystatin. You may be prescribed these for short-term use if your skin has become infected.
Before using clobetasol propionate
To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using clobetasol propionate it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you have any areas of infected skin.
- If you have rosacea or acne.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a skin preparation.
How to use clobetasol propionate
- Before you start using this preparation, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about topical steroids and a full list of side-effects that you may experience from using them.
- Apply a small amount on to the areas of skin which are inflamed. Then gently rub it into the skin until it has disappeared.
- Your doctor will tell you how often to apply clobetasol propionate. It must not be applied more than twice a day, and once a day is often sufficient.
- The amount of topical steroid that you should apply is commonly measured by fingertip units (FTUs). One FTU is the amount of cream or ointment that is squeezed out along an adult's fingertip (that is, from the very end of the finger to the first crease in the finger). As a guide, one FTU is enough to cover an area twice the size of an adult hand. Your doctor will give you an idea of how many FTUs you will need to cover the area of your skin which is affected.
- Do not use clobetasol propionate on any areas of infected skin unless you have a preparation which also contains an antibacterial agent (neomycin and nystatin). If you are using one of these preparations, use it regularly for one week only, unless you have been directed otherwise by your doctor.
- If you are using more than one topical corticosteroid, make sure you know how and where to use each one. If you are unsure, check with your doctor or ask your pharmacist for further advice.
- If you are using a shampoo or an application to apply to your scalp, these should be applied to your hair when it is dry. Read the printed information leaflet from inside the pack, as this will give you full instructions for using the preparation you have been given.
- If you are using clobetasol propionate for psoriasis, make sure you follow your doctor's instructions carefully. It should not be used for large areas of psoriasis or for long periods of time, as these can cause your symptoms to flare up afterwards.
- Clobetasol propionate is not suitable for use in children unless it is has been advised by a skin specialist. This is because children are particularly susceptible to side-effects from strong topical steroids. The main concern is for children who need frequent courses, as it can have an effect on their growth and this will need to be monitored. If you have been given clobetasol propionate for your child, follow the directions you have been given very carefully, and do not use it for longer than you have been told to. As a rule, it should not be used for more than five days in children.
- After you have applied clobetasol propionate, wash your hands (unless your hands are the treated area).
Getting the most from your treatment
- If you are using an emollient along with this preparation, apply the emollient first. Then wait 10-15 minutes before applying clobetasol propionate. This allows time for the emollient to be absorbed before the topical corticosteroid is applied. (Your skin should be moist but not slippery when you apply clobetasol propionate.)
- Do not use this preparation on your face unless your doctor has said you should. If you have been told to use it on your face, be careful not to get any preparation near your eyes and do not use it for longer periods of time than you have been advised.
- Unless advised to do so by your doctor, do not apply a bandage or dressing to the area being treated, as this will increase absorption of the preparation and increase the risk of side-effects.
- Continue to use clobetasol propionate until the flare-up is controlled and then stop it. A course of treatment for 7-14 days is often sufficient. If your symptoms have not improved after this time (or if they get worse), speak again with your doctor for further advice. Topical corticosteroids like clobetasol propionate should not be used for more than four weeks, or on large areas of the body. You may be given a less potent topical steroid to use for a while after you stop using clobetasol propionate. This is to make sure your symptoms go completely.
- Even after you have stopped using topical steroids, continue to use your emollients every day. This will help to prevent a further flare-up.
Can clobetasol propionate cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. You can reduce the risk of side-effects from topical corticosteroids like clobetasol propionate, by applying the preparation thinly, no more than twice a day, and to the affected areas only.
|Side-effects of clobetasol propionate||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Thinning of your skin, striae (like stretch marks), bruising, discolouration, or thin spidery blood vessels||Speak with your doctor if you notice any of these|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to clobetasol propionate, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store clobetasol propionate
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Dermovate® Cream; Manufacturer's PIL, Dermovate® Cream, GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2007.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Etrivex® 500 micrograms/g Shampoo; Manufacturer's PIL, Etrivex® 500 micrograms/g Shampoo, Galderma (UK) Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2007.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Dermovate® Scalp Application; Manufacturer's PIL, Dermovate® Scalp Application, GlaxoSmithKline UK, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2011.
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.
Dr Helen Huins