Betamethasone and clioquinol cream and ointment used to be marketed under the brand name Betnovate C cream and ointment. However, this product has been discontinued and the cream and ointment are now only available generically (ie without a brand name). Both contain two active ingredients, betamethasone valerate and clioquinol.
Betamethasone valerate is a type of medicine called a topical corticosteroid.
Corticosteroids are medicines used for reducing inflammation. Inflammation of the skin happens as a result of allergy or irritation of the skin, and is caused by the release of various substances that are important in the immune system. These substances cause blood vessels to widen and result in the irritated area becoming red, swollen, itchy and painful, such as is seen in dermatitis or eczema.
When betamethasone is applied to the skin it works by acting inside the cells to decrease the release of these inflammatory substances. This reduces swelling, redness and itch. Betamethasone is a potent corticosteroid.
Clioquinol has antifungal and antibacterial actions. It works by preventing the growth and multiplication of the organisms.
The combination of betamethasone and clioquinol is used to treat inflammatory skin disorders that are either already infected, or your doctor thinks are likely to become infected, for example because you are using airtight dressings. Dressings can create a warm, moist environment where bacteria and fungi can grow easily.
The cream is more suitable for moist, weeping areas of skin, while the thicker, more greasy ointment is more suitable for dry, scaly areas of skin.
- Before you start using this preparation, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about topical steroids and a full list of side-effects that you may experience from using them.
- Apply a small amount on to the areas of skin which are inflamed. Then gently rub it into the skin until it has disappeared. If you are using a scalp application, apply it to dry hair, rub it in gently, and then allow the area to dry again naturally.
- Your doctor will tell you how often to apply betamethasone. It must not be applied more than twice a day, and once a day is often sufficient.
- Do not use betamethasone on any areas of open or infected skin unless you have a preparation which also contains an antibacterial or antifungal agent (such as Fucibet®, and Lotriderm®). If you are using one of these preparations, use it regularly twice daily for one week only, unless you have been directed otherwise by your doctor.
- The amount of topical steroid that you should apply is commonly measured by fingertip units (FTUs). One FTU is the amount of cream or ointment that is squeezed out along an adult's fingertip (that is, from the very end of the finger to the first crease in the finger). As a guide, one FTU is enough to cover an area twice the size of an adult hand. Your doctor will give you an idea of how many FTUs you will need to cover the area of your skin which is affected.
- If you are using more than one topical corticosteroid, make sure you know how and where to use each one. If you are unsure, check with your doctor or ask your pharmacist for further advice.
- After you have applied betamethasone, wash your hands (unless your hands are the treated area).
- If you are using betamethasone for psoriasis, make sure you follow your doctor's instructions carefully. It should not be used for large areas of psoriasis or for long periods of time, as these can cause your symptoms to flare up afterwards. If you are using the medicated plasters, carefully follow the directions on the printed information leaflet from inside the pack.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Skin irritation, eg redness, rash, itching or burning on application, or allergic inflammation of the skin (contact dermatitis). Stop using this medicine and consult your doctor if you think you have experienced a reaction or your skin condition appears to be getting worse.
- Spreading and worsening of infection. Tell your doctor if you think the infection is getting worse.
- Thinning of the skin.
- Reduced skin pigmentation.
- Stretch marks (striae).
- Groupings of fine blood vessels becoming prominent under the skin (telangiectasia).
- Excessive hair growth (hypertrichosis).
- Prolonged use of this medicine on extensive areas of skin, broken or raw skin, skin folds or underneath airtight dressings may on very rare occasions result in enough corticosteroid being absorbed to have side effects on other parts of the body, for example a decrease in the production of natural hormones by the adrenal glands, or symptoms of Cushing's syndrome - see warning section above.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
- This medicine is for external use on the affected areas of skin only.
- You should never use this medicine as a moisturiser.
- Avoid getting this medicine in the eyes, or inside the mouth or nose. Rinse with cold water if accidental contact occurs.
- If corticosteroids are used long term, on large areas of skin, raw skin, skin folds, or under airtight dressings (including nappies) they are absorbed into the body more. This increases the risk of local side effects such as skin thinning, and those on other parts of the body, such as a decrease in the production of natural hormones by the adrenal glands. For this reason, continuous, long-term use of this medicine should be avoided wherever possible, particularly in children and on large areas of skin. You should only use airtight dressings over the affected area if instructed by your doctor.
- Do not use this medicine for longer than instructed by your doctor, or for recurrent infections without consulting your doctor, as this may cause the skin to become over-sensitive or allergic to the medicine.
- If this medicine is used on the face, wherever possible it should not be used for longer than five days. You should not use airtight dressings to cover the area treated.
- If used in children, wherever possible this medicine should not be used for longer than five days, or on the face. You should not use airtight dressings to cover the area treated. Be aware that children's nappies can also act as an airtight dressing and can increase the absorption of the medicine. Children being treated with this medicine should be reviewed by the doctor at least once a week.
- This cream and ointment may stain skin, hair and fabric. You can protect clothes by covering the treated area with a non-airtight cotton bandage or piece of clean cloth.
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