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

Desoximetasone belongs to the family of medications known as topical corticosteroids. It is used for the relief of various skin conditions, including rashes. It helps to reduce redness, itching, and irritation.

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.

How should I use this medication?

Apply a thin film to the affected skin areas twice daily or as directed by your doctor. Rub in gently. Do not apply this medication in or near the eyes.

Do not cover the area with an occlusive dressing (a bandage that doesn’t breathe) unless directed to do so by your doctor.

Wash your hands after applying this medication unless you are treating your hands. 

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, protect it from moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Topical Cream

Each gram of cream contains 2.5 mg of desoximetasone. Nonmedicinal ingredients: isopropyl myristate, methylparaben, propylparaben, wool alcohols, and wool alcohols ointment.

Topical Mild Cream

Each gram of cream contains 0.5 mg of desoximetasone. Nonmedicinal ingredients: isopropyl myristate, wool alcohols ointment, wool alcohols, methylparaben, propylparaben, lactic acid, edetate disodium, and water.

Topical Gel

Each gram of gel contains 0.5 mg of desoximetasone. Nonmedicinal ingredients: isopropyl myristate, carbomer homopolymer Type C, alcohol, docusate sodium, edetate disodium, trolamine, and water.

Topical Ointment

Each gram of ointment contains 2.5 mg of desoximetasone. Nonmedicinal ingredients: propylene glycol USP, white petrolatum USP, sorbitan sesquioleate, dicocoyl pentaerythrityl, distearyl citrate, beeswax, aluminum stearates, and vitamin E (trace amount).

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use desoximetasone if you:

  • are allergic to desoximetasone or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • have untreated bacterial, tubercular, fungal, and most viral skin lesions (including chickenpox, herpes simplex, and vaccinia)
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 hair growth
  • 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:

  • acne
  • blurring or loss of vision (occurs gradually if medication has been used near the eye)
  • change in skin colour
  • heat rash
  • painful, red, or itchy, pus-containing blisters in hair follicles
  • rash around mouth
  • reddish purple lines on arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  • skin infection
  • skin peeling or oozing
  • soft, wet, or soggy skin
  • stretch marks
  • symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g., frequent urination, increased thirst, blurred vision, unusual tiredness, fruity-smelling breath)
  • symptoms of decreased activity of the adrenal gland (e.g., fatigue, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
  • thinning of skin with easy bruising
  • vision changes (e.g., cloudy or blurred vision, decreased night vision, need for brighter light to see or read)

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

  • pustular psoriasis (e.g., white or yellow, pus-filled and painful bumps on skin)
  • severe skin infection (e.g., small, red, raised bumps on the skin, large or deep sores on the skin, frequently appearing wounds)
  • symptoms of high blood pressure in the brain (e.g., ringing sound in the ears, vision changes, arm or leg pain, balance problems)
  • symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., severe rash, hives, swollen face or throat, or difficulty breathing)

Additional side effects may occur if this medication is used improperly or for long periods of time. Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • acne or oily skin
  • backache
  • blurring or loss of vision (occurs gradually if medication has been used near the eye)
  • changes in skin colour
  • depression
  • eye pain (if medication has been used near the eye)
  • filling or rounding out of the face
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased hair growth, especially on the face and body
  • increased loss of hair, especially on the scalp
  • irregular heartbeat
  • irregular menstrual periods
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle cramps, pain, or weakness
  • nausea
  • pus in the hair follicles
  • rapid weight gain or loss
  • reddish purple lines on arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  • redness and scaling around the mouth
  • softening of the skin
  • stomach bloating, burning, cramping, or pain
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • tearing of the skin
  • thinning of skin with easy bruising
  • unusual bruising
  • unusual decrease in sexual desire or ability (in men)
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • weakness of the arms, legs, or trunk (severe)
  • white spots
  • 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 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: Corticosteroids like desoximetasone are known to be absorbed into the bloodstream after use for a prolonged period of time on large areas of the body. Absorption increases the risk of side effects and occurs most often when the cream is covered with a bandage that doesn't breathe.

Diabetes: When desoximetasone is used over large areas of the body for prolonged periods or under dressings that don't breathe it is possible that enough medication will absorb into the bloodstream to affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, your doctor should closely monitor your condition while you are using this medication, as it may affect blood sugar control.

Eyes: Be careful if you are using this medication for affected areas around the eye. Take care to ensure that it does not enter the eye, as glaucoma or cataracts may result. Report any changes in your vision to your doctor, as soon as possible.

Infections: This medication 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.

Thinning of skin: Prolonged use of topical corticosteroid products such as desoximetasone may cause stretch marks or produce thinning of the skin and of tissues under it. If you notice this, call your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication 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: Corticosteroids such as desoximetasone may pass into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: Children may be more susceptible to the side effects that can occur when applying large amounts of this medication to the skin for long periods of time. These side effects include slowing of growth and delayed weight gain, especially if large amounts of this medication are used for long periods of time. Children should use the smallest amount of desoximetasone that will be effective for the shortest period of time possible.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

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

  • other topical medications that contain corticosteroids or that have irritating effects

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.

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