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- Effective treatment
- Treats inflammation
- Helps to manage the skin condition
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- Genuine medication
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Betamethasone ointment is an ointment that contains a potent steroid. It is prescribed to treat itchy, swollen, or irritated skin caused by numerous conditions including eczema and dermatitis. Ointments are oilier and thicker than creams, making them a helpful choice for skin that is very dry. Betamethasone ointment is sometimes known by its brand name Betnovate Ointment.
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About Betamethasone Ointment
- Betamethasone is a potent steroid ointment
- Betamethasone ointment soothes itchy, dry, swollen, and red skin
- Betamethasone ointment is prescribed for skin inflammation caused by eczema and other skin conditions
- Betamethasone ointment should be used sparingly as only a little is needed for the treatment to be effective
- Using too much Betamethasone ointment can increase the risk of side effects
- Betamethasone ointment contains the steroid betamethasone valerate 0.1%
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Betamethasone Ointment Work?
Betamethasone ointment contains the potent steroid betamethasone valerate. It is often prescribed when milder steroid treatments, such as hydrocortisone, have not had the desired effect.
Skin inflammation occurs due to skin irritation or an allergy. The immune system causes the blood vessels to widen, resulting in itchy, sore, red, or swollen skin. Betamethasone ointment works to dampen down the immune response to calm the skin. The areas of skin irritation then start to look and feel healthier.
Unlike a cream, the ointment is thicker and oilier. This makes it a good choice for areas of irritation that are dry or scaly, as it helps to keep moisture in for better hydrated skin cells.
The steroid ointment relieves the manifestations of inflammatory skin conditions, including:
- Dermatitis (skin inflammation with numerous causes)
- Dermatitis caused by an allergy
- Lichen simplex and lichen planus
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Lupus erythematosus
- Reactions to insect bites.
How is Betamethasone Ointment Used?
Betamethasone ointment should be applied to the affected area of skin only. Very little ointment is needed, due to its potent strength. Follow your personalised instructions, as you may need to apply Betamethasone ointment once or more each day.
Topical steroids are often measured in ‘fingertip units’. A fingertip unit is the amount of ointment you can squeeze onto the end (tip) of one finger. One fingertip unit of ointment is enough to cover an area that’s twice the size of your palm, so for a small area of inflammation you need to apply very little ointment.
Wash your hands first, and then apply the steroid in a thin layer. Gently smooth it onto your skin, making sure you cover all of the affected area. Wash your hands afterwards so that your fingers are not exposed to the steroid unnecessarily.
Steroid ointments are best applied to dry areas of skin, rather than areas that are wet or weeping. Avoid getting the ointment in any broken areas of skin or cuts.
If you have skin that is weeping, you may be prescribed Betamethasone cream instead.
Dosage of Betamethasone Ointment
Betamethasone ointment comes in the strength 0.1%. This means that every 1 gram of ointment contains 1mg of betamethasone valerate. Check the instructions to see how often you should apply the ointment.
Use sparingly on the affected area only, and only use it for the specified treatment period. It may take a few days to notice an improvement in your skin.
Are there any Side Effects?
Like all medications, Betamethasone ointment can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:
- Discomfort or a burning sensation on the skin
- Allergic skin reactions.
If you are concerned about any of these side effects, you should speak to your doctor for further advice.
Occasionally, after prolonged use of Betamethasone ointment, some people will notice that their skin is thinner. Some people also develop stretch marks. The stretch marks may fade over time, but are likely to be permanent.
Serious allergic reactions happen very rarely. If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.
Betamethasone Ointment Warnings
You should stop using Betamethasone ointment if:
- You get lighter or darker skin patches
- You start to feel very unwell with vomiting (being sick), dizziness, weakness, tiredness, mood changes, loss of appetite or diarrhoea – this could be a sign of adrenal gland problems
- You feel confused, sleepy, thirsty, hungrier than usual, pass urine frequently or notice that your breath smells sweet or fruity – this could be a sign of high blood sugar
- Your skin condition worsens, or you notice yellow fluid weeping from the skin – this could be a sign of a new or worsening infection
- You notice any changes in your eyesight.
Betamethasone ointment may not be suitable for everyone. You should tell your doctor if you:
- Have glaucoma or cataracts
- Have areas of infected eczema or a fungal skin infection
- Have ever had an allergic reaction to a skin cream, ointment, or solution
- Are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.
Some medications can interact with Betamethasone ointment. You may be advised that Betamethasone ointment will not suit you if you already use another steroid cream or topical preparation.
Because Betamethasone ointment may not suit everyone, we will complete a Consultation with you including a health questionnaire. This will ensure that the medication will be suitable for you.
A qualified prescriber will review your current medications, including any herbal remedies or supplements, to ensure that Betamethasone ointment will not interact with them.
Once prescribed, Betamethasone ointment will be ordered on your behalf via electronic prescription, allowing you to pick the medication up at your convenience.