How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
The betamethasone patch belongs to the class of medications called topical corticosteroids. It is used to treat mild-to-moderate plaque psoriasis of the elbows and knees. It works by reducing inflammation, swelling, and irritation of the skin.
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 taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking 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 take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each topical 7.5 cm × 10 cm patch contains 2.25 mg (0.1% w/w) of betamethasone valerate, uniformly distributed in the adhesive base. Nonmedicinal ingredients: 1,3-butylene glycol, aluminium glycinate, carmellose sodium, disodium edetate, glycerol, hydroxypropylcellulose, methyl parahydroxybenzoate (E218), polyacrylic acid, polyacrylic acid aqueous solution, propyl parahydroxybenzoate (E216), purified water, sodium hyaluronate, sodium polyacrylate, and tartaric acid.
Each patch is composed of an adhesive base, laminated unwoven cloth and a protective film.
How should I use this medication?
The betamethasone patch should be applied once a day to the affected skin on the knees or elbows. You may cut the patches to the size necessary to cover the lesions. Do not apply more than 5 patches over a 24-hour period.
Before applying a patch, clean and carefully dry the area to which you will be applying the patch. This ensures that the patch will stick well to the skin. Open the pouch containing the patch and, if necessary, cut the patch to fit the affected area. Peel off the protective film and apply the sticky, medicated side of the patch to the skin. Do not cover the patch with any additional plastic or occlusive dressings.
The patch should be left on for at least 20 hours to get the best effect from the medication. When you remove the patch, fold it in half with the medication to the inside, to keep pets and other people from coming in contact with the medication. If possible, bathe or shower between removing the patch and applying a new one. Wait for at least 30 minutes before applying the next patch to the same area.
Avoid getting the patch wet. If the patch becomes wet, remove the patch and apply a new patch at your regularly scheduled time. If the edges of the patch start to lift off the skin, use a small amount of medical tape to tape the edges down.
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 taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 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 in the sealed pouches at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children. After opening the pouch, use the patch immediately.
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 take this medication if you:
- are allergic to betamethasone or any ingredients of the medication
- have had an allergic reaction to other corticosteroid medications
- have a skin infection caused by viruses, including herpes simplex, vaccinia, and varicella (chickenpox)
- have untreated infected skin lesions caused by an infection with fungi, bacteria, or parasites
- have tuberculosis of the skin
Do not give this medication to children less than 18 years of age.
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 sensation
- dry, flaky skin
- irritation or pain
- itchy skin
- peeling skin
- rash or hives
- skin irritation
- skin wrinkling
- stretch marks
- unusual hair growth
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:
- appearance of blood vessels under the skin
- changes to skin colour
- inflamed hair follicles
- skin infection or ulcers
- symptoms of corticosteroid absorption (Cushing’s syndrome: e.g., weight gain, rounding of the face, obesity)
- thinning skin
- worsening psoriasis
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
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.
Absorption: Topical (applied to the skin) corticosteroids such as betamethasone are known to be absorbed into the bloodstream, especially if used for prolonged periods of time on large areas of the body. Absorption is also more likely to occur if the patch is covered with a dressing that does not allow the skin to come into contact with the air. This medication should not be used for longer than 30 days.
Infections: Betamethasone should not be used on any infected area until the infection has cleared. Corticosteroids applied to the skin may increase the risk of developing a skin infection. If you notice any increased redness, swelling, heat, or pain around the area where the medication is applied, contact your doctor, as these are possible signs of infection.
Medical conditions: People with stasis dermatitis and other skin diseases associated with impaired circulation should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Stopping this medication: Suddenly stopping corticosteroid medication may cause your skin condition to return. If you have been using this medication for a long period of time, discuss with your doctor the best way to discontinue the medication.
Thinning of skin: Using topical corticosteroid medication for a long period of time can cause skin and the tissues underneath to thin or soften or can 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 to give the skin a chance to strengthen. If you notice changes to the texture or colour of your skin, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Pregnancy: Betamethasone should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if betamethasone applied to the skin 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 this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: Seniors may experience more side effects of this medication than younger adults, as they are more likely to have thinner, more fragile, skin, making it more likely for the medication to be absorbed.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between betamethasone patch and any of the following:
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.