- Hormonal changes warning: If this drug is used regularly and at very high doses, it may cause changes in your adrenal glands (glands that make hormones). This can cause conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome. Symptoms include a round face, weight gain in the center of your body, a hump on your back, and pink or purple stretch marks on your stomach, thighs, arms, and chest. Hormonal changes can also cause adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms can include tiredness, muscle weakness, and weight loss.
- Skin irritation warning: If you’re taking this drug and you develop a skin rash, itchy skin, swelling, blisters, irritation, or if your condition gets worse, call your doctor. You may need to stop taking this drug.
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.
Desonide topical cream is available as the brand-name drug DesOwen Cream. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in all strengths or form as the brand-name version.
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 topical 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. 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).
Desonide topical cream can cause side effects.
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:
- worsening of the condition
- peeling of the skin
- 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 911 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:
- sore throat
- Heat rash. Symptoms can include:
- painful blisters
- red bumps
- itching or prickling sensation in your skin
- Other changes in the treated skin. Symptoms can include:
- loss of skin color
- thinning of your skin
- spider veins (small blood vessels that can be seen through your skin)
- Swelling of your face, lips, or tongue
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not 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.
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 topical cream 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 can not 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.
This drug comes with several warnings.
Desonide can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:
- skin rash
- itching or hives
- swelling of your 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 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Don’t use this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Using it again could be fatal (cause death).
Warning for 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.
Warning for pregnant women
Desonide is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:
- Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
- 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.
Call your doctor if you become pregnant while using this drug.
Warning for women who are breastfeeding
It isn’t known if desonide passes into breast milk and causes side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop using this medication.
Warning for children
The safety and efficacy of desonide has not been established in people younger than 18 years of age.
Contact with drug warning
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.
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
Drug forms and strengths
- Form: topical cream
- Strength: 0.05%
Brand: DesOwen Cream
- Form: topical cream
- Strength: 0.05%
Dosage for inflammation and itchiness due to skin irritation
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 can not 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.
Take as directed
Desonide is used for short-term treatment. It comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If 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:
- 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 911 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.
Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes desonide for you.
Use this medication at the time(s) recommended by your doctor.
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.
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.
- 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.
- If your condition doesn’t improve after 2 weeks, tell your doctor. Your doctor may stop your treatment.
Your doctor may test your cortisol levels during treatment. They will do this test if you have symptoms of hormonal changes while using desonide.
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure they carry it.
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.
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.
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 here in 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.