What Is Halobetasol Propionate?

Christina Whyte
Christina Whyte
Halobetasol propionate can be used to treat inflamed, itchy skin conditions like eczema.
Halobetasol propionate can be used to treat inflamed, itchy skin conditions like eczema.
Halobetasol propionate can be used to treat inflamed, itchy skin conditions like eczema.

Halobetasol propionate is a topical corticosteroid. It is used to treat inflammation, redness, and itching of the skin caused by conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and allergic reactions. Generally it is a safe medication, although there are some precautions that should be taken while using it and some side effects that may occur.

Compared to other corticosteroids, halobetasol propionate has a high potency. It is important not to use more of it than instructed or to use it for longer than prescribed in order to avoid adverse side effects. Patients should apply it according to the schedule recommended, and it should not be used for longer than two weeks. This medication should be applied in a thin film and should not be covered by a bandage or any other covering unless instructed by a doctor.

Halobetasol propionate should not be given to children under the age twelve without doctor supervision.
Halobetasol propionate should not be given to children under the age twelve without doctor supervision.
Halobetasol propionate should not be given to children under the age twelve without doctor supervision.

Topical corticosteroids such as halobetasol propionate are not appropriate for all skin irritations. Previously prescribed medication should not be used to treat a different skin condition or given to another person. It should also not be used on the face or groin unless recommended by a doctor, and patients should avoid ingesting it or getting it in the eyes.

The most common side effects of halobetasol propionate are stinging, burning, or irritation after application. Other less common side effects can include dry skin, inflamed hair follicles, thinning of the skin or changes in skin color in the treated area, and crusting or acne-like outbreaks. Any persistent or concerning side effects should be reported to the patient's doctor. Long term use increases the likelihood of more serious side effects.

Halobetasol propionate can help treat some of the symptoms of psoriasis.
Halobetasol propionate can help treat some of the symptoms of psoriasis.
Halobetasol propionate can help treat some of the symptoms of psoriasis.

It is possible to absorb this medication through the skin, which can cause adverse effects. People who experience severe skin irritation, changes in vision or mood, problems sleeping, weight gain or puffiness in the face, muscle weakness, or fatigue should stop using halobetasol propionate and speak to a doctor. If there are any signs of an allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, hives, or swelling of the face or mouth, patients should seek emergency medical attention.

Because skin moisture and elasticity typically decreases with age, older individuals may be particularly susceptible to experiencing eczema.
Because skin moisture and elasticity typically decreases with age, older individuals may be particularly susceptible to experiencing eczema.
Because skin moisture and elasticity typically decreases with age, older individuals may be particularly susceptible to experiencing eczema.

This medication should not be given to children under twelve without doctor supervision. Children may absorb more of the active ingredients through their skin and can experience more severe side effects, including a delayed growth rate. Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing a baby should discuss this with their doctors because it is not fully known if halobetasol propionate could harm an unborn or nursing baby.

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Discussion Comments

brista

If you are looking for more information about the potential side effects of long-term topical steroid use, please research the International Topical Steroid Addiction Network. This non-profit has compiled lots of research on the topic.

brista

Dermatologists "treated" my eczema for years with halobetasol propionate which caused me to develop steroid-induced eczema, also called Red Skin Syndrome. The high levels of artificial cortisol from topical steroids caused my body to stop producing its own cortisol and I needed stronger and stronger prescriptions to calm my skin and clear the "eczema" rashes. I was diagnosed with incurable atopic dermatitis -- eczema with no cause -- despite multiple tests and no family history, and I was told there was no cure. They just kept telling me to use the steroids even though the steroids weren't working.

Finally I found my answer when I came across research that described my situation perfectly. It turned out that the topical steroids were causing the rashes and the only way to cure it was to go through topical steroid withdrawal. I stopped using topical steroids and now my body is in the process of healing. The withdrawal process is hellish and takes a while (six months to two years, depending on how long and how strong topical steroids were used) but once it is done, I can expect normal, healthy skin!

If any of my comment resonates with you and *especially* if you have been using strong topical steroids for a long time or are using strong topical steroids on a child, do some research before resigning yourself to a lifetime of steroid use. They can cause so many problems when used for longer than two weeks but derms are quick to prescribe them as a lifelong treatment for "incurable" eczema. It is hard to find a dermatologist who agrees with the risk of topical steroid addiction, so I encourage you to do your own research!

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    • Halobetasol propionate can be used to treat inflamed, itchy skin conditions like eczema.
      Halobetasol propionate can be used to treat inflamed, itchy skin conditions like eczema.
    • Halobetasol propionate should not be given to children under the age twelve without doctor supervision.
      Halobetasol propionate should not be given to children under the age twelve without doctor supervision.
    • Halobetasol propionate can help treat some of the symptoms of psoriasis.
      Halobetasol propionate can help treat some of the symptoms of psoriasis.
    • Because skin moisture and elasticity typically decreases with age, older individuals may be particularly susceptible to experiencing eczema.
      Because skin moisture and elasticity typically decreases with age, older individuals may be particularly susceptible to experiencing eczema.