Betamethasone, in several forms, is a treatment option for eczema. Despite possible side effects, many people find relief using betamethasone.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes dry, itchy, irritated skin episodes. Rashes form on the affected skin, and the irritation can often lead to swelling. Untreated eczema can lead to open, weepy skin that can become infected. Eczema treatment can help calm skin and relieve itching.
Betamethasone is one of several steroid medications that can help people with eczema get symptom relief. The medication is most often applied in an ointment form. Topical medications with betamethasone are useful for:
- reducing swelling
- stopping itching
- controlling irritation
Betamethasone is a steroid treatment used to treat irritated skin. Betamethasone products are available by prescription only. They’re an option for conditions such as psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and eczema.
Betamethasone comes in several forms, including:
- scalp treatment
- medicated bandages
- eye drops
- ear drops
Eczema is often treated with betamethasone ointment. You can apply betamethasone ointment over large areas of the skin. Your doctor will give you the exact instruction for use. Generally, though, betamethasone ointment is applied following these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before application.
- Spread a thin layer of ointment over the affected area.
- Smooth the ointment into your skin in the direction that your hair grows.
- Make sure to use the ointment on all affected areas.
- Avoid using the ointment on any areas of broken skin.
- Wash your hands again after application unless your hands are an affected area.
- Apply ointment as directed, typically once or twice a day.
Most people can use betamethasone for eczema without any side effects as long as they follow their doctor’s instructions. Topical steroids are
However, complications and side effects are possible. When side effects do occur, they are typically mild and include burning, stinging, or itching in the first few minutes following betamethasone application. This usually stops after a few days of use.
Serious side effects are rare but may include:
- thinned skin
- stretch marks
- red or swollen skin
- skin infections
- dark- or light-colored patches on skin
- unintentional weight loss
- adrenal gland problems
- high blood sugar
- vision difficulty
- allergic reaction to betamethasone
- delayed growth in children and teens
You’re more likely to experience side effects if you use betamethasone on large areas of your skin. Also, side effects are possible if you apply it to your face or mucus membranes, such as your lips or genitals, or underneath bandages.
Side effects are also more likely if you use betamethasone for a long time. Your doctor can monitor your betamethasone use to ensure you’re not using too much for too long.
Betamethasone is generally considered safe. However, some people should not use betamethasone. This includes:
- People allergic to betamethasone: If you’re allergic to betamethasone, or any of the ingredients in betamethasone, you should avoid using this medication.
- People who have an active infection: Steroids can aggravate active infections.
- People with conditions affected by steroids: People with Cushing syndrome, diabetes, and liver disease are typically advised to avoid using steroid medications.
- People who are nursing: It’s generally OK to use betamethasone skin treatments while breastfeeding. However, it’s essential to thoroughly wash any betamethasone from your breasts and hands before nursing.
Betamethasone doesn’t typically interact with other medications and topical treatments. However, it’s a good idea to wait 30 minutes before applying other skin treatments so that both the betamethasone and the other skin treatments can work effectively. Also, talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you take:
- medication for any fungal infection
- other medications that contain steroids, including asthma inhalers and some eye drops
- HIV medications that include ritonavir and cobicistat
- any herbal supplements
They can advise you about the potential interaction risk in your specific situation.
Betamethasone is one of several treatment options for eczema. Not all eczema treatments will help everyone who has eczema. If betamethasone is a good treatment option, you should see results in about 2 weeks.
Your doctor will advise you on how to continue using betamethasone after your initial treatment. For instance, you might use it for 2 weeks, take a break for a few weeks, and then use it for another 2 weeks.
Alternatively, you might use it every week but only 2 or 3 days a week. In some cases, you might be able to switch to a milder treatment after you’ve had success with betamethasone.
You can learn more about betamethasone by reading the answers to some common questions.
Can I drink alcohol while I’m using betamethasone?
Yes. It is safe to drink alcohol while you are using betamethasone.
Will betamethasone affect birth control?
No. Betamethasone does not affect birth control. This includes hormonal birth control pills and emergency contraception.
Will Betamethasone make me drowsy or dizzy?
No. Betamethasone rarely causes side effects. You should not feel drowsy, dizzy, or tired while you use this medication. If you do, contact your doctor.
What happens if I skip a treatment?
You can apply a treatment as soon as you remember. However, do not double up. If it’s almost time for your next treatment, it’s better to skip a treatment than to do two treatments very close together.
Betamethasone is a prescription-strength steroidal treatment option for skin conditions such as eczema. It’s available in various forms, including creams, foams, and ointments.
Betamethasone is a safe treatment, and serious side effects are rare. They can include skin damage, infections, adrenal damage, increased blood sugar, and serious allergic reactions.
Side effects are more likely to occur in people who’ve used large amounts of betamethasone for a long time. Your doctor can help ensure you’re using a safe amount of betamethasone.