Drug Information

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Brand Name
Common Name
halobetasol propionate
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.

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 layer of cream or ointment to the affected skin and rub in gently and completely. Apply twice daily, or as directed by your doctor. Do not apply more than 50 g per week and stop treatment once the affected area responds to the medication. Generally, this medication should not be used longer than 2 weeks.

Do not cover the area with a dressing after applying halobetasol. Avoid applying this medication near the eyes, nose, and mouth.

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, 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.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each g contains 0.5 mg of halobetasol propionate. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, glycerin, isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate, steareth-21, and water.

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

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use halobetasol if you:

  • are allergic to halobetasol, to other corticosteroids (e.g., betamethasone, fluocinolone), or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • have untreated bacterial, tubercular, or fungal infections of the skin
  • have 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.

  • acne
  • burning, dryness, irritation, itching, redness, or stinging skin (usually mild and temporary)
  • heat rash
  • 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:

  • cough
  • increased hair growth
  • joint pain
  • lack of healing of your skin condition
  • painful, red or itchy, pus-containing blisters in hair follicles
  • patches of decreased pigment on the skin
  • rash around mouth
  • reddish-purple lines (stretch marks) on arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  • skin infection
  • skin softening or breaking down
  • spider veins
  • stretch marks
  • thick, leathery skin
  • thinning of skin with easy bruising
  • tingling, prickling skin sensation

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)

The following side effects may occur if this medication is used improperly or for a long time:

  • blurring or loss of vision (occurs gradually if certain products have been used near the eye)
  • burning and itching of skin with pinhead-sized red blisters
  • diarrhea
  • extreme thirst
  • fever
  • filling or rounding out of the face
  • headache
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased frequency of cold, sinus or flu-like symptoms (e.g., sore throat, hoarseness, nasal congestion, facial pain, or runny nose)
  • increased need to urinate
  • nausea
  • rapid weight gain or loss
  • signs of high blood sugar (e.g., frequent urination, increased thirst, excessive eating, unexplained weight loss, poor wound healing, infections, fruity breath odour)
  • skin colour changes
  • stomach bloating, burning, cramping, or pain
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • weakness of the arms, legs, or trunk (severe)

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: If you have a skin disease associated with impaired circulation, discuss this with your doctor before using any topical corticosteroid.

Eyes: Use this medication with care on lesions close to the eye. Getting the medication in the eye can increase the risk of increased eye pressure, glaucoma, or cataracts.

Infection: Topical corticosteroids may increase the risk of developing a skin infection. Contact your doctor if you notice any increased redness, swelling, heat, or pain around the area where the medication is applied, as these are possible signs of infection.

Liver function: Corticosteroids are broken down and removed from the body by the liver. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

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 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 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: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

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

  • aldesleukin
  • 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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