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What is Betamethasone Dipropionate?

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  • Written By: Katie McFarlin
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Betamethasone dipropionate is a prescription medication used to treat skin ailments. It is typically prescribed as a cream, lotion or ointment, and the concentration amount is typically 0.05 percent. This is a manmade corticosteroid similar to cortisol or hydrocortisone, and it should be used only under a physician’s supervision. The medicine is sold under the names Diprolene and Diprolene AF; use of the names Diprosone and Alphatrex has been discontinued.

The medicine is prescribed for patients suffering from psoriasis, eczema, contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. The human body typically produces its own cortisol, and hydrocortisone is a common steroid used by those suffering from asthma, skin diseases and other immune deficiencies. Betamethasone dipropionate is able to mimic the actions of hydrocortisone and may be safer to use than this common steroid.

Betamethasone dipropionate is applied directly to the skin in a small strip and rubbed in. Doctors warn patients about overusing betamethasone dipropionate because of the serious reactions that can occur from absorbing too much into the skin. This is a steroid that mimics cortisol so, when too much is absorbed into the skin, the body reacts by reducing its own production of cortisol, which can result in serious complications.

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It is recommended that patients do not use betamethasone dipropionate for more than two weeks. Failing to follow directions and use this glucocorticoid steroid properly can result in the aforementioned reaction. In addition, some forms of contact dermatitis may actually worsen after this anti-inflammatory cream is applied. It is essential that a patient monitor his reactions to the drug and report any abnormalities to his physician. When used properly, betamethasone dipropionate can be very beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases.

While some corticosteroids are approved for use during pregnancy, there are no studies as to whether this medication is safe to take during pregnancy or while nursing. A common side effect of this drug is burning at the site of application and itching. Dry skin may also occur. Betamethasone dipropionate should not be taken with topical anthralins. It is recommended that the patient stop using betamethasone dipropionate at least one week before starting therapy with any medication containing anthralins.

This is a steroid so, even though it is manmade, it still may produce side effects such as weight gain, fluid retention and — in some rare cases — psychological disturbances. When used properly, it has been found to be a beneficial treatment for patients suffering from skin diseases. As with any medication, proper use and a physician’s supervision are beneficial in avoiding any adverse reactions.

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