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Betamethasone

Last updated on 23/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions   |   Tips   |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Betamethasone 

CHINESE NAME: 倍他米松

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Axcel, Becocet, Derzid (Contains Betamethasone and Clotrimazole), Fusigen-B (Contains Betamethasone and Fusidic Acid), Uniflex 

DRUG CLASS: Corticosteroid / glucocorticoid

USED FOR: Mild to severe skin inflammation, including eczema and psoriasis, oral ulceration 

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: Clobetasone, Dexamethasone, Fluticasone, Fluocinolone, Hydrocortisone, Mometasone, Prednisolone, Prednisone, Triamcinolone

What is Betamethasone for?

Betamethasone belongs to a class of medications called glucocorticoids or steroid hormones. It mainly works by reducing inflammation with a wide range of uses, including: 

– Short-term local treatment of inflammation
– Eczemas unresponsive to less potent corticosteroids
– Psoriasis
– Suppression of inflammatory and allergic disorders
– Oral ulceration

How to use it?

You can take Betamethasone by mouth as tablets or capsules. It is more commonly used as cream or ointment by directly applying sparingly to the affected skin areas. If you are taking it orally, the usual daily dose ranges from 0.5 to 5 mg for adults. If you are using creams or ointments, apply sparingly to the affected areas 1-2 times a day.

What are the side effects of Betamethasone?

When used as a cream or ointment, minimise the period of time you use Betamethasone as long-term use can cause skin thinning. When Betamethasone is taken by mouth for long-term use, it can have more serious side effects such as anxiety, cataracts, cognitive impairment, fat redistribution (moon face and buffalo hump), fluid retention, gastrointestinal discomfort, headache, impaired wound healing, high blood pressure, increased risk of infection, menstrual cycle irregularities, and osteoporosis.

Who should not take Betamethasone?

– People allergic to Betamethasone or any component of the formulation
– Patients with bacterial, fungal or viral skin lesions, acne or rosacea
– Patients with systemic fungal infections or herpes simplex of the eye

Pharmacist Tips:

– Betamethasone is a moderately potent corticosteroid. Use the lowest dose possible for the shortest period of time (particularly on the face). Long term oral use can suppress the hypothalamus-pituitary gland-adrenal gland axis.
– Do not use topical Betamethasone on broken or inflamed skin.
– Apply thinly onto the affected areas. Usually one fingertip unit (from the very end of the finger to the first crease in the finger) of topical steroid (the tube is assumed to have a 5 mm nozzle) is enough for a skin area twice the size of an adult’s hand (the flat side) with all fingers together.
– Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.
– Report signs of new or worsening infections
– After long-term use of this drug, contact your doctor/pharmacist if you notice fatigue, weight gain, or thinning of skin that bruises easily. 

Common dosing schedule:
You can take oral Betamethasone with or without food.
Do not use topical Betamethasone more than 2 times each day. 

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Betamethasone may interact with:
 Oral preparations:
– Antidiabetic agents, e.g. Metformin 
– Calcitriol
– Echinacea
– NK-1 receptor antagonists, e.g. Aprepitant, Fosaprepitant
– Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), e.g. Celecoxib, Ibuprofen, Naproxen  

Drug-drug interactions generally are not likely for topical use. 

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Betamethasone in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Betamethasone is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at http://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Betamethasone in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.