Desonide | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

desonide, Topical cream

All Brands

  • Tridesilon (Discontinued)
  • DesOwen
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for desonide

Topical cream
1

Desonide is a corticosteroid. It’s used to treat skin problems that may cause itching, redness, and swelling.

2

This drug comes in five forms, all of which are topical (applied to the skin). These forms are cream, lotion, ointmentgel, and foam.

3

All forms of desonide are available as brand-name products. These are called DesOwen Cream, DesOwen Lotion, DesOwen Ointment, Desonate, and Verdeso. The cream, lotion, and ointment are also available as generic drugs.

4

The more common side effects of desonide include reactions where the medication is applied. These reactions include burning or redness of the skin.

5

Serious side effects can include swelling, blisters, or other skin changes in the treated area, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Adrenal insufficiency

Desonide can cause adrenal insufficiency. With this condition, the body’s adrenal glands don’t make enough steroid hormones. Symptoms can include weight gain, increased infections or infections that take longer to heal, tiredness, weak muscles, or feeling irritable or anxious. Stopping this medication should make the effects of this condition go away.

Skin irritation

If you develop a skin rash, itchy skin, swelling, or blisters, or if your condition gets worse, you should stop using desonide and call your doctor.

What is desonide?

Desonide is a prescription drug. It comes in five forms, all of which are topical (applied to the skin). These forms are cream, lotion, ointment, gel, and foam.

All forms of desonide are available as brand-name products. These are called DesOwen Cream, DesOwen Lotion, DesOwen Ointment, Verdeso, and Desonate. The cream, lotion, and ointment are also available as generic drugs. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or form as the brand-name version. Talk to your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you.

Desonide may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to use it with other medications.

Why it's used

Desonide Cream is used to treat skin problems that may cause itching, redness, or swelling.

How it works

Desonide belongs to a class of drugs called topical corticosteroids.

More Details

How it works

Desonide belongs to a class of drugs called topical corticosteroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Topical corticosteroids are absorbed into the skin cells. They stop these cells from producing certain chemicals that cause inflammation. These chemicals are normally released when the skin reacts to irritation or allergens (substances that cause an allergic reaction).

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SECTION 2 of 5

desonide Side Effects

Topical cream

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of desonide cream include:

  • Reactions on the treated skin. Symptoms can include:

    • redness
    • stinging
    • burning
    • irritation
    • rash
    • worsening of the condition
    • peeling of the skin
    • itching
    • swelling
    • dryness or scaliness

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Infection. Symptoms can include:

    • fever
    • sore throat
    • cough
  • Heat rash. Symptoms can include:

    • painful blisters
    • red bumps
    • itching or prickling sensation in the skin
  • Other changes in the treated skin. Symptoms can include:

    • loss of skin color
    • thinning of the skin
    • spider veins (small blood vessels that can be seen through the skin)
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Desonide doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

desonide May Interact with Other Medications

Topical cream

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

To find out how desonide might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Desonide warnings
skin
People with skin infection

If you have a skin infection when starting treatment with desonide, your doctor may also prescribe a topical antibiotic or antifungal. If the infection does not heal well with this treatment, you may need to stop using desonide until the infection clears up.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Desonide is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if desonide passes into breast milk and causes side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

for seniors
For seniors

The skin of seniors is more likely to be thin and prone to injury. This makes it more likely that a higher amount of drug will pass through the skin into the body. This raises the risk of side effects. Desonide should only be used rarely and for brief periods by seniors.

for children
For children

The safety and efficacy of desonide has not been established in people younger than 18 years of age.

contact with drug
Contact with drug

This drug can be transferred to other people if they touch your treated skin. Talk to your doctor about what you should do to prevent this from happening.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Desonide can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching or hives
  • swelling of the face, lips, or tongue

If you have an allergic reaction, stop using desonide and call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take desonide (Dosage)

Topical cream

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Inflammation and itchiness due to skin irritation

Brand: DesOwen Cream

Form: Topical cream
Strengths: 0.05%

Generic: desonide

Form: Topical cream
Strengths: 0.05%
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Apply a thin film of desonide cream to the affected area 2–3 times per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that desonide cream is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years of age.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

Desonide comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

IIf you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your skin problems, such as itching, redness, or swelling, may not go away. Or they may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • tiredness
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • hunger
  • excessive sweating
  • frequent bruising
  • trouble sleeping

If you think you’ve used too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away. 

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should notice an improvement in your skin condition.

Desonide is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking desonide
timing
Use this medication at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
storage
Store this medication carefully
See Details
refillable
A prescription for this medication is refillable
See Details
travel
Travel
See Details
Self-management
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.
prior authorization
Insurance
See Details

Store this medication carefully

Keep desonide cream at a temperature between 36°F and 86°F (2°C and 30°C).

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you, When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

  • If you cover the affected skin with a dressing, be sure to use something lightweight that lets air and water in, such as gauze.
  • Desonide cream is for use on the skin only. Keep it away from the eyes, nose, mouth, or vagina.
  • You should not use desonide cream for longer than 2 weeks in a row. If your condition doesn’t improve after 2 weeks, your doctor may stop your treatment.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor may test your cortisol levels during treatment. They will do this test if you have symptoms of hormonal changes while using desonide.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does desonide Cost?

Topical cream

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Lowest price for desonide

Walgreens $16.48
Membership warehouse $16.61
Sams Club $16.61
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for desonide on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for desonide on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on November 10, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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