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Update Date 14/08/2020 . 6 mins read
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What is betamethasone used for?

Betamethasone is part of a class of drugs known as corticosteroids. Corticosteroids, or steroids, are synthetic drugs that are modeled after the naturally occurring hormone cortisol, which is produced in the adrenal glands located above the kidneys. Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation, pain, itchiness, and other effects mediated by the immune system response.

Each corticosteroid is formulated to be used in a specific dosage form, either parenteral, oral, topically, or otherwise. Each topical corticosteroid is grouped based on its level of potency, with betamethasone categorized as a medium to high potency steroid, depending on its side chain.

Betamethasone is mainly indicated to treat the following conditions:

  • Allergic reactions and disorders
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Steroid-responsive dermatoses
  • Plaque psoriasis

How should I take betamethasone?

Betamethasone is available as a topical ointment, lotion, cream, and parenteral suspension for injection. The topical dosage forms should be applied as a thin layer on the affected areas of skin. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after application.

The suspension for injection should be administered via intramuscular (IM), intralesional, or intra-articular (IA) routes by a licensed health professional.

How do I store betamethasone?

This drug should be stored at room temperature (15-30°C) and be protected from light and moisture. Always check the label before using this product. For safety, keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Do not use if the printed expiration date has passed, the product seal has been broken, or the product has changed in color, odor, or consistency.

Do not dispose of this product by pouring it down the drain, toilet, or into the environment. Ask your pharmacist regarding the proper way and location of disposal.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using betamethasone?

Corticosteroids, including betamethasone, are associated with an increased risk of infection, bone demineralization, weight gain, water retention, and various other effects. This risk is further increased in elderly patients, young patients, immunocompromised patients, and those undergoing chronic treatment with steroids.

Never stop taking corticosteroids suddenly. If side effects are being experienced or you have completed your therapy, your doses must be tapered gradually until it is safe to stop taking corticosteroids. Abruptly stopping the use of steroids can result in adrenal insufficiency, which is potentially life-threatening.

Some groups of people with conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hypothyroidism, myopathy, glaucoma, and myasthenia gravis may experience an exacerbation of symptoms after using corticosteroids.

Before using this medication, inform your doctor if:

  • You have ever had an allergic reaction to betamethasone or other corticosteroids
  • You have a history of allergy to other medications, food, or other substances
  • You are taking other medications, especially other corticosteroids
  • You have underlying health conditions

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

This drug is a pregnancy category C drug. There is insufficient evidence from human studies that shows it can cause fetal harm when taken during pregnancy. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus, as determined by your doctor.

This drug may be excreted in breast milk. This drug should be used while breastfeeding only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the child, as determined by your doctor.

Side effects

What side effects can occur when using betamethasone?

All drugs have the potential to elicit side effects even with normal use. Many side effects are route and dose-related and will likely resolve when it is adjusted or at the end of therapy.

Potential side effects while using this drug include:

  • Growth suppression (in children)
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Cushingoid facies (“moon face”)
  • Hirsutism (excessive growth of body hair)
  • Weight gain
  • Water retention
  • Increased appetite
  • Glucose or carbohydrate intolerance
  • Sweating
  • Opportunistic infections (e.g. candidiasis)
  • Reactivation of latent infections
  • Osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of bone fractures
  • Tendon rupture
  • Change in mental state and behavior
  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances
  • Increase intraocular pressure
  • Glaucoma
  • Papilledema
  • Cataracts
  • Impaired healing
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Acne
  • Skin atrophy

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these serious, potentially fatal drug reactions:

  • Adrenal insufficiency
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Weight loss
    • Decreased appetite
    • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)

You may experience some, none, or other side effects not mentioned above. If you have any concerns about a side effect or it becomes bothersome, consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with betamethasone?

This drug may interact with other medications. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and inform your doctor and pharmacist.

Known drugs and their interactions with betamethasone include:

  • CYP3A4 inhibitors
    • Increased plasma levels of betamethasone
  • Oral contraceptives
    • Increased plasma levels of betamethasone
  • Rifampicin, rifabutin
    • Decreased effect of betamethasone
  • Carbamazepine, phenobarbitone, phenytoin, primidone
    • Decreased effect of betamethasone
  • Aminoglutethimide
    • Decreased effect of betamethasone
  • Ephedrine
    • Decreased effect of betamethasone
  • Hypoglycemic agents
    • May antagonize the effects of this drug
  • Antihypertensives
    • May antagonize the effects of this drug
  • Neuromuscular blockers
    • May antagonize the effects of this drug
  • Diuretics
    • May antagonize the effects of this drug
  • Theophylline
    • Increased risk of hypokalemia
  • Cardiac glycosides
    • Increased risk of hypokalemia
  • Somatotropin
    • Decreased growth effects of this drug
  • Fluoroquinolones
    • Increased risk of tendon rupture
  • Tretinoin
    • Increased metabolism of this drug
  • NSAIDs
    • Increased risk of GI bleeding
  • Coumarin anticoagulants
    • May enhance the efficacy of these drugs

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, do not stop taking this drug. Inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Your dose may need to be adjusted, substituted with another drug, or discontinue using the drug.

Does food or alcohol interact with betamethasone?

This drug should be taken with meals. Certain food should be avoided while taking corticosteroids to prevent the worsening of certain symptoms. This drug does not have any significant interaction with alcohol. Your doctor or nutritionist would be able to advise you if any dietary changes should be made while taking this medication.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding food-drug interactions.

What health conditions may interact with betamethasone?

This drug should be taken with caution if you have any of the following conditions or risk factors:

  • Exposure to chickenpox or measles
  • Active tuberculosis
  • Latent amebiasis, candidiasis, and other infections
  • Optic neuritis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Diabetes mellitus

Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns regarding specific health conditions.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using betamethasone.

What is the dose of betamethasone for an adult?

For allergic and inflammatory disorders

  • Parenteral: (as betamethasone Na phosphate): 4-20 mg via deep IM injection or IV injection over 0.5-1 min or IV infusion, repeated 3 to 4 times in 24 hours, as necessary.
  • Intranasal: instill 2-3 drops into each nostril twice a day, as required.
  • Ophthalmic: instill 1-2 drops into the affected eye(s) every 2 hours, reduce the frequency as symptoms improve.
  • Oral: (as betamethasone Na phosphate): 0-5-5 mg daily in divided doses, depending on the severity of the disease and clinical response. Recommended regimen:
    • Short-term treatment: 2-3 mg daily for the first few days, then gradually decrease by 0.25 or 0.5 mg every 2-5 days, depending on response.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis: 0.5-2 mg per day.
    • Other conditions: 1.5-5 mg daily for 1 to 3 weeks, then gradually reduce to the minimum effective dose.

For corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses

  • Topical: (as 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate): apply to affected area 1-2 times per day for up to 2 weeks.
  • Topical: (as 0.025 or 0.1% betamethasone valerate cream): apply thinly onto the affected areas 1-3 times per day for up to 4 weeks or until symptoms improve.
  • Topical: (as 0.1% betamethasone valerate solution): rub it gently onto the affected area twice a day.
  • Topical: (as 0.12% betamethasone valerate foam): massage gently onto the scalp twice a day.

What is the dose of betamethasone for a child?

For allergic and inflammatory disorders

  • Parenteral: (as betamethasone Na phosphate):
    • Ages ≤1 year: give 1 mg
    • Ages >1-5 years: give 2 mg
    • Ages 6-12 years: give 4 mg.
    • Doses are given via IV injection or infusion, repeated 3-4 times in 24 hours, as necessary.
  • Oral: the dose is based on the normal adult dose and the age of the child
    • Age 1 year: give 25% of the adult dose
    • Age 7 years: give 50% of the adult dose
    • Age 12 years: give 75% of the adult dose

How is betamethasone available?

This drug is available in the following brands, dosage forms, and strengths:

  • Allerkan cream 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate
  • Betnoderm cream 1 mg/g betamethasone valerate
  • Betnovate ointment 1 mg/g betamethasone valerate
  • Betnovate scalp lotion 1 mg/mL betamethasone valerate
  • Celestone suspension for injection, 3 mg/mL betamethasone Na phosphate + 3 mg/mL betamethasone acetate
  • Diprolene cream 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate
  • Diprolene ointment 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate
  • Diprosone cream 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate
  • Diprosone ointment 0.05% betamethasone dipropionate
  • Innodesone cream 0.1% betamethasone valerate

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of this drug, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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