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Beclometasone dipropionate is a prescription anti-inflammatory medication that can be used to treat symptoms of chronic asthma, seasonal allergies, and some types of skin rashes. It is available as an oral inhaler, nasal spray, and topical ointment. Doctors generally prescribe the medication when less potent drugs and remedies fail to relieve severe symptoms. In most cases, patients are instructed to take daily doses of beclometasone dipropionate to help prevent the onset of inflammation. Other medications may be prescribed to treat acute asthma attacks or episodes of severe allergic reactions.
Like many other anti-inflammatory drugs, beclometasone dipropionate is a glucocorticoid steroid. It works by supplementing natural glucocorticoids such as cortisol that are produced by the body to fight inflammation. When the drug is inhaled, it quickly reaches the lining of the lungs and airways and binds to receptor sites. It then triggers the immune system to stop inducing inflammation. Doctors usually instruct patients with chronic asthma to use their inhalers two to three times a day.
As a nasal spray, beclometasone dipropionate calms the inflammatory response in the nostrils and deep within the nasal cavity that is caused by seasonal allergies. Patients typically use two sprays in each nostril twice daily. Topical ointments and creams are indicated for chronic eczema disorders that cause redness, dryness, flaking, and itching. When a thin layer of cream is applied to an affected patch, it soothes itching sensations and gradually repairs damaged skin. Topical creams are generally prescribed to be used several times a day when symptoms are present.
Adverse reactions and side effects are uncommon when using beclometasone dipropionate. Some patients experience mild headaches or bouts of light-headedness shortly after using inhalers or nasal sprays. Coughing, nausea, and nasal congestion may occur when using an inhaler as well. Using nasal spray daily for many weeks can irritate the nostrils and cause dryness, sudden nosebleeds, sneezing attacks, and runny eyes. Allergic reactions to beclometasone dipropionate in any form are very rare but may cause skin hives and breathing difficulties.
Beclometasone dipropionate is not normally indicated for treating acute asthma. During an acute episode, severe inflammation and airway constriction can prevent the drug from reaching receptor sites in the lungs. Inhalers containing bronchodilators may be prescribed instead that can immediately relax and open the airways. Many patients are given beclometasone dipropionate to take on a daily basis and another medication to combat sudden attacks should they occur.