How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Betamethasone valerate foam is a corticosteroid that is used to treat moderate-to-severe psoriasis of the scalp. It helps to reduce the redness, itching, and tenderness associated with psoriasis of the scalp.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each gram of foam contains 1.2 mg of betamethasone valerate. Nonmedicinal ingredients: cetyl alcohol, citric acid, ethanol, polysorbate 60, potassium citrate, propylene glycol, purified water, and stearyl alcohol.

How should I use this medication?

This medication is usually applied 2 times daily, morning and evening, for up to 4 weeks or according to your doctor's instructions.

Shake the can, hold it upside down, and dispense a small amount of medication (typically a dollop the size of a golf ball) onto a clean plate or surface. Do not dispense it directly onto hands because the foam will melt upon contact with warm skin. Pick up small amounts of foam with your fingers and gently massage into the affected area until the foam disappears and allow the areas to dry naturally. Enough medication should be applied to completely cover the affected area with a thin layer of foam.

When applying medication to the scalp, move hair away so that the foam can be applied directly to each affected area. Wash your hands immediately after applying the medication. Do not wash or rinse the treated areas immediately after applying medication.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

Avoid applying the medication in or near the eyes.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss an application, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next application, skip the missed application and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication upright at room temperature, avoid storing in an upside down position, and keep it out of reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use betamethasone valerate foam if you:

  • are allergic to betamethasone, other corticosteroid medications (e.g., hydrocortisone, desonide), or any of the ingredients of the medication
  • have chickenpox
  • have bacterial, fungal, yeast, or viral skin lesions (e.g., herpes)
  • have tuberculosis or syphilis that involves the skin
  • have had a skin reaction following a recent vaccination
  • have rosacea
  • have pus-filled bumps or rashes around the mouth

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people using this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • acne (usually temporary)
  • burning, itching, or stinging sensation (usually mild and at the application site)
  • hair loss (usually temporary)
  • tingling, pricking sensations

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • changes in skin colour
  • filling or rounding out of the face
  • increased hair growth, especially on the face and body
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • irritability
  • rapid weight gain or loss
  • reddish-purple lines on arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  • thinning of skin with easy bruising
  • unusual bruising
  • unusual decrease in sexual desire or ability (in men)
  • worsening of infections

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using this medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Absorption: When betamethasone valerate is used over extensive areas for prolonged periods, it is possible that enough medication will absorb into the bloodstream to cause unwanted side effects. It is advisable to use betamethasone valerate for brief periods of time only and to stop using it as soon as the problem clears. Do not use this medication under dressings or bandages that do not breathe.

Infections: Topical corticosteroids may increase the risk of developing a skin infection. Contact your doctor if you notice any increased redness, swelling, heat, or pain around the area where the medication is applied, as these are possible signs of infection.

Thinning of skin: Using topical corticosteroid medications for a long period of time can cause skin to thin or soften or cause stretch marks. Your doctor may recommend that you stop using this medication once in a while. Suddenly stopping corticosteroid medication may cause psoriasis to return.

Pregnancy: Betamethasone valerate foam should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. When it is used during pregnancy, the smallest amount should be used for the shortest time. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if betamethasone valerate passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using betamethasone valerate foam has not been established for children and adolescents less than 18 years of age.

Seniors (65 years or older): Seniors may be more at risk of experiencing side effects when using this medication and should use the lowest amount of this medication possible.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between betamethasone valerate foam and any of the following:

  • aldesleukin
  • BCG vaccine
  • itraconazole
  • natalizumab
  • other topical medications containing corticosteroids, or that have irritating effects
  • pimecrolimus
  • ritonavir
  • tacrolimus
  • telaprevir

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.