How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
This topical skin preparation contains 2 active ingredients: betamethasone and gentamicin. It is used to treat allergic or inflammatory skin rashes such as dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis that have become infected.
Betamethasone is a corticosteroid that helps to reduce skin redness, itching, and irritation. Gentamicin is an antibiotic that kills bacteria that cause certain types of infections. The ointment of this medication helps retain moisture in the skin and is useful for treating infections on dry and scaling skin.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. 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 g of cream contains betamethasone valerate USP equivalent to 1 mg (0.1%) betamethasone alcohol and gentamicin sulfate USP equivalent to 1 mg (0.1%) of gentamicin base. The microdispersion of these active ingredients in a greaseless, odourless, non-staining, washable, and cosmetically-pleasing cream insures effective contact with the skin and rapid onset of action of the steroid and the antibiotic. Nonmedicinal ingredients: cetostearyl alcohol, chlorocresol, mineral oil, monobasic sodium phosphate, phosphoric acid, polyethylene glycol 1,000 monocetyl ether, purified water, sodium hydroxide, and white petrolatum.
Each g of ointment contains betamethasone valerate USP equivalent to 1 mg (0.1%) betamethasone alcohol and gentamicin sulfate USP equivalent to 1 mg (0.1%) of gentamicin base. The microdispersion of these active ingredients in an odourless, nonstaining ointment base insures effective contact with the skin and rapid onset of action of the steroid and the antibiotic. Nonmedicinal ingredient: white petrolatum USP.
How should I use this medication?
Apply a small amount on the affected area 2 or 3 times daily, or as directed by your doctor. Enough medication should be applied to completely cover the affected area with a thin film. The medication should be gently and thoroughly massaged into the affected area.
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 one above, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
For some cases of psoriasis and certain other conditions, your doctor may advise you to cover the area with an occlusive dressing (a dressing that doesn't breathe) such as a plastic wrap for more effective treatment. Do not cover the area unless directed to do so by your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for the next application, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular schedule. Do not apply a double application 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.
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 this medication if you:
- are allergic to betamethasone, gentamicin, or any ingredients of the medication
- have chickenpox
- have herpes simplex
- have tuberculosis of the skin
- have vaccinia
- have viral skin lesions
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 taking 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.
- burning, irritation, itching, redness, or dryness of the skin (usually mild and temporary)
- increased redness or scaling of the skin sores (usually mild and temporary)
- skin rash (usually mild and temporary)
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- blood-containing blisters on the skin
- burning and itching of the skin
- increased skin sensitivity
- lack of healing of the skin condition
- painful, red or itchy, pus-containing blisters in hair follicles
- raised, dark red, wart-like spots on the skin, especially when used on the face
- skin discoloration
- skin infection
- "spider veins" or blood vessels visible through the skin
- thinning of the skin with easy bruising
Additional side effects may occur if this medication is used for long periods of time. Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
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 a 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.
Tell all health professionals involved in your care that you have been using a topical (skin applied) corticosteroid.
Absorption: Gentamicin and betamethasone are known to be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream by people using these medications for a long period of time or over a large area of the body, increasing the risk of side effects. It is advisable to only use betamethasone valerate - gentamicin for brief periods and to stop using it as soon as the problem clears.
Eyes: Use this medication with caution on lesions close to the eye. Take care to ensure that it does not enter the eye, as glaucoma may result. Cataracts have been reported following internal use of corticosteroids.
Thinning of skin: Using topical corticosteroid medications such as betamethasone valerate for a long period of time can cause skin to thin or soften or cause stretch marks. Your doctor may recommend you stop using this medication once in a while or to apply to one area of the body at a time. Suddenly stopping corticosteroid medication may cause psoriasis to return.
Yeast infections: Gentamicin is not effective against fungi, yeasts, or viruses. People with fungal, yeast, or viral infections must also receive specific treatment for those conditions as prescribed by your doctor. If you believe that an affected area is not responding to topical betamethasone valerate - gentamicin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Pregnancy: Betamethasone valerate - gentamicin should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Topical corticosteroids should not be used by pregnant women over large areas of the body, in large amounts, or for prolonged periods of 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: Betamethasone valerate belongs to the family of medications known as corticosteroids. Children may be more likely to experience the side effects encountered by using large amounts of this class of medication for long periods of time (e.g., slowing down of growth, delayed weight gain).
The use of this medication by children should be limited to the smallest amount that will be effective. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of the use of this medication by children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between betamethasone valerate - gentamicin and any of the following:
- other topical medications that contain corticosteroids, antibiotics, or that have irritating effects
If you are using any medications that fit this description, 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 that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or illegal drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.