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

halobetasol, Topical cream

All Brands

  • Ultravate
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Highlights for halobetasol

Topical cream
1

Halobetasol is used to control inflammation and itching caused by certain skin conditions. These may include eczema, poison ivy, insect bites, rashes, allergies, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

2

This drug is available as a topical cream, ointment, or lotion you apply to your skin.

3

Halobetasol is available as a brand-name drug called Ultravate. It’s also available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include burning, stinging, itching, dryness, and redness at the site of your skin where you apply the medication.

5

If you have a skin infection, this drug may make it more difficult for your skin to heal. Your doctor may also prescribe a drug to treat this infection, along with halobetasol.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Hormone imbalance

Halobetasol can be absorbed into your body through your skin. This may affect how your body produces hormones.

  • If you stop taking this drug suddenly, your body may not be able to produce enough of the hormone cortisol. This is called adrenal insufficiency. In rare cases, this may cause side effects such as hypotension (very low blood pressure), nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle weakness, irritability, depression, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
  • If you use this drug for a long time, it may increase the hormone cortisol and cause Cushing Syndrome. Symptoms include weight gain, fat deposits in your body (especially around your upper back and stomach area), and slow healing of cuts or infections. They also include anxiety, irritability, depression, roundness of your face (moon face), and high blood pressure.

External use only

Don’t put this drug near your eyes or mouth. You shouldn’t use it on your face, groin, or underarms unless your doctor tells you to use it in these areas. Wash your hands well after applying this medication.

What is halobetasol?

Halobetasol is a prescription drug. It’s available as a topical cream, topical ointment, or topical lotion.

Halobetasol is available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

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

Why it's used

Halobetasol is used to relieve skin conditions that cause inflammation (flare-ups) and itching of the skin. These conditions may include eczema, poison ivy, insect bites, rashes, allergies, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

How it works

Halobetasol 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.

More Details

How it works

Halobetasol 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.

It isn’t known exactly how halobetasol works. It’s thought that it reduces certain chemicals (prostaglandins and leukotrienes) that cause inflammation and itching in your body.

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halobetasol Side Effects

Topical cream

More common side effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur at the site on your skin where you apply halobetasol include:

  • burning

  • stinging

  • itching

  • dryness

  • redness

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:

  • Adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms can include:

    • tiredness that gets worse and doesn’t go away
    • nausea or vomiting
    • dizziness or fainting
    • muscle weakness
    • irritability
    • depression
    • loss of appetite
    • unintentional weight loss
  • Cushing’s syndrome. In this condition, your body produces too much of the hormone cortisol. Symptoms can include:

    • weight gain, especially around your upper back and stomach area
    • slow healing of wounds, cuts, insect bites, and infections
    • tiredness and muscle weakness
    • depression, anxiety, and irritability
    • roundness of your face (moon face)
    • new or worsening high blood pressure
  • Folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles) and sweat glands. Symptoms can include:

    • redness, itching, and soreness around the follicle
  • Excessive hair growth
  • New acne
  • Change or loss of skin color
  • Skin inflammation around your mouth area
  • Thinning of your skin
  • Stripes or lines on your skin
  • Slowed growth and development in children
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

You shouldn’t wrap any dressings, bandages, or gauze over your skin after applying this drug unless your doctor tells you to do so. This could cause your body to absorb too much of the drug. This could result in severe side effects.

Halobetasol 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.
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halobetasol 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 this drug 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.
Halobetasol warnings
People with skin infections
People with skin infections

If you have a skin infection or develop a new bacterial or fungal skin infection, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may prescribe a drug to treat the infection. If the infection doesn’t go away, your doctor may have you temporarily stop using halobetasol until your infection heals.

Pregnant women
Pregnant women

Halobetasol 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 be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding
Women who are breast-feeding

Halobetasol may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

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

For seniors
For seniors

Clinical studies for halobetasol didn’t show a difference in the safety or effectiveness between seniors and younger people. However, seniors may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug.

For children
For children

It hasn’t been confirmed if this drug is safe and effective for use in children younger than 12 years.

Children may absorb higher amounts of halobetasol than adults. This means they have a higher risk of serious side effects. If children use this drug for a long time, their growth and development can be delayed. Your child’s growth should be monitored by their doctor if they need to take this drug long-term.

When to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Contact your doctor if:

  • Your rash doesn’t get better.
  • Your redness, swelling, or inflammation gets worse.
Allergies
Allergies

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

  • swelling of your eyes, face, lips, throat, or tongue
  • hives
  • itching
  • trouble breathing
  • rash

If you have an allergic reaction, 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 halobetasol (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?

Treat swelling and itching from skin conditions

Brand: Ultravate

Form: Topical cream 0.05%
Form: Topical ointment 0.05%
Form: Topical lotion 0.05%

Generic: halobetasol

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

Apply a thin layer of the ointment, cream, or lotion to your affected skin once or twice per day as directed by your doctor. Rub the medication in gently and completely.

Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

Apply a thin layer of the ointment, cream, or lotion to your affected skin once or twice per day as directed by your doctor. Rub the medication in gently and completely.

Child dosage (ages 0–11 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 12 years.

Warnings

You shouldn’t use this drug for longer than 2 weeks at a time. Using more than 50 grams (1 tube) of this drug per week could cause severe side effects.

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
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

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

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

Your symptoms of redness and itching may not improve.

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

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be applied to the affected areas until they’re completely healed.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. This could cause serious side effects of this drug, including:

  • adrenal insufficiency
  • Cushing’s syndrome

If you think you’ve taken 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

Apply this drug as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose then skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Never apply more than the recommended amount. Doing so may increase your risk of side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of redness and itching will improve. They may heal completely.

Halobetasol may be used for short-term or long-term treatment depending on your skin condition.

Store halobetasol at room temperature

Keep it between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C). Keep it away from high temperatures.

Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

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

To apply halobetasol:

  • Only apply this drug to your skin. Avoid getting it into your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Wash your hands before and after using this drug. If you’re applying it to your hands, don’t wash your hands after applying it.
  • Don’t apply this drug to your face, underarms, or groin area unless your doctor tells you to do so.
  • Don’t cover the treated area with bandages or dressings unless your doctor tells you to do so.

Clinical monitoring

During treatment with this drug, your doctor may monitor the following:

  • Improvement in your symptoms

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will 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.

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How Much Does halobetasol Cost?

Topical cream

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Lowest price for halobetasol

CVS Pharmacy $46.84
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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for halobetasol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for halobetasol 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 December 22, 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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