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Medications Lexicon

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

Halobetasol belongs to the family of medications called topical corticosteroids. Halobetasol topical preparations are used to treat resistant or severe psoriasis and other rashes. Halobetasol helps to control redness, itchiness, and irritation of the skin by reducing inflammation.

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.

How should I use this medication?

Apply a thin layer of cream or ointment to the affected skin and rub in gently and completely. Apply twice daily, or as directed by your doctor. Limit treatment to 50 g per week and stop treatment once the affected area responds to the medication. Do not cover the area with a dressing after applying halobetasol.

Many things can affect the dose of a 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.

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 your next dose, skip the missed dose 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 at room temperature and keep it out of the 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.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Cream
Each g contains halobetasol propionate 0.5 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: cetyl alcohol, diazolidinyl urea, glycerin, isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate, methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone, steareth-21, and water.

Ointment
Each g contains halobetasol propionate 0.5 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: beeswax, dehymuls E, petrolatum, and propylene glycol.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Halobetasol should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to halobetasol, to other corticosteroids (e.g., betamethasone, fluocinolone), or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • has untreated bacterial, tubercular, or fungal infections of the skin
  • has viral lesions of the skin (including herpes simplex, vaccinia, and chickenpox)

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, dryness, irritation, itching, or redness of skin (usually mild and temporary)
  • increased redness or scaling of skin sores (usually mild and temporary)
  • skin rash (usually mild and temporary)

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:

  • blood-containing blisters on skin
  • lack of healing of skin condition
  • numbness in fingers
  • painful, red or itchy, pus-containing blisters in hair follicles
  • raised, dark red, wart-like spots on skin, especially when medication is used on the face
  • skin infection
  • thinning of skin with easy bruising

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., severe rash, hives, swollen face or throat, or difficulty breathing)

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: Absorption of the medication into the bloodstream may lead to adrenal suppression (reduction of the body's reaction to stressful situations) and side effects, especially if the cream or ointment is used over large areas or over an extended period of time. Occasionally, symptoms of steroid withdrawal may develop when the medication is stopped after prolonged use.

Application near the eyes: Use topical corticosteroids such as halobetasol with caution on lesions close to the eye. If the medication gets into the eye, flush the eye immediately with plenty of water.

Circulation problems: Topical corticosteroids should be used with caution by people with skin diseases associated with impaired circulation.

Medical treatment: Inform all health professionals involved in your care that you have been using topical (skin-applied) corticosteroids.

Skin irritation: If local irritation or sensitization develops, call your doctor.

Thinning of skin: Prolonged use of topical corticosteroid products may produce thinning of the skin and of tissues under it. If this is noticed, call your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: Corticosteroids such as halobetasol may pass 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: Halobetasol cream or ointment should not be used by children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between halobetasol and any of the following:

  • other topical medications that contain corticosteroids 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 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.

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