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What is Clobetasol Propionate?

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  • Written By: B. Chisholm
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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Clobetasol propionate is a topical corticosteroid preparation usually found in the form of cream, ointment, gel or shampoo. It is used on the skin or scalp to treat common dermatological disorders such as eczema and psoriasis. Its main effect is to reduce the swelling, inflammation, redness and itching associated with skin conditions such as these. It is a high potency corticosteroid, so it should be used cautiously, for a limited period, and under the supervision of a medical practitioner.

The way in which clobetasol propionate works is by reducing swelling, its anti-inflammatory effect; itching, its anti-pruritic effect; and redness, its vasoconstrictive action. This treats the symptoms commonly associated with dermatological conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and some contact dermatitis. As with any medication, clobetasol propionate may also cause unwanted side effects in some people. It is because of these possible side effects that the medication should be used cautiously, under medical supervision.

One of the most serious possible side effects is an effect on the adrenal gland. Clobetasol propionate, especially used long-term or over large areas, may cause suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, a sensitive system that controls neuroendocrine regulation of the body. Other, less serious side effects may include stinging or burning of the skin. If any untoward effects are experienced when using clobetasol propionate, medical advice should be sought.

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Due to its high potency as a corticosteroid, it is available in most countries by prescription only. It should be used in as small a quantity as possible, for as short a period of time as possible. It is not recommended for use in children under 12 years old and should not be used on any open wounds, mucous membranes or the eyes. When using clobetasol propionate, the site at which it is being used, be it the skin or scalp, should not be covered or occluded. The treatment should not be used for a longer period of time than prescribed by the medical practitioner.

As with any medical treatment, any concomitant drug therapy or medical conditions should be discussed with the prescribing doctor. Pregnancy, desired pregnancy or lactation should also be taken into consideration before using clobetasol propionate. The amount used and duration of treatment will depend on the condition and the severity thereof. The prescribing medical practitioner will explain how to use the medication, and for how long, and these instructions should be followed precisely.

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