Betamethasone - Use | Dose | Side Effects

This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.

Betamethasone is a drug from the group of corticosteroids and is intended primarily for dermatological use. It exists in the form of creams, ointments and solutions for the skin and is used to treat the following conditions:

  • Allergic skin diseases
  • Different types of dermatitis (professional dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, dyshydrotic dermatitis, photodermatitis and others)
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis

Betamethasone also exists in the form of tablets but they are rarely used because of the other corticosteroids that are more suitable for oral use.

Betamethasone exerts potent anti-inflammatory effect (approximately 30 times greater than cortisol).

Safety precautions

Contraindications to the use of betamethasone cream / ointment include:

  • Rosacea
  • Perioral dermatitis (inflammation of the skin around the mouth)
  • Perianal and genital pruritus (inflammation of the skin around the anal and genital region)
  • Diaper dermatitis
  • Acne
  • Tuberculosis infections of the skin
  • Viral infections of the skin

Although it is mostly applied topically (on the skin), this medicine can sometimes be absorbed through the skin into the blood and can exert a systemic effect, especially if applied to large areas of skin. If this drug passes into the blood, following side effects may occur:

  • The suppression of the pituitary gland, hypothalamus and adrenal gland
  • Symptoms of Cushing's syndrome
  • Increase of the intracranial blood pressure
  • Disturbance of carbohydrate metabolism

Betamethasone should not be applied to the eye or eye area, as it may increase intraocular pressure.

It should not be used in children younger than 12 years.

Betamethasone, pregnancy and lactation

It should not be used during pregnancy because there are not enough data on its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Theoretically, betamethasone can be absorbed through the skin and enter the blood and breast milk. Therefore, you should avoid breastfeeding while applying Betamethasone cream/ointment.

How to apply Betamethasone cream/ointment

It should be applied in a thin layer to the affected area once or twice a day. The duration of treatment will be determined by your doctor.


Long-term use can lead to suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis which is manifested by impairment of the adrenal gland function. If you notice symptoms, such as: dizziness, loss of appetite, weight loss, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, digestive problems or skin color changes, contact your physician immediately.

Avoid the use of betamethasone cream / ointment over larger areas of skin.


There is no reported interactions between betamethasone cream / ointment and other medicines. Betamethasone is often combined with antibiotics to prevent possible bacterial infection of the affected skin area.

Side effects

The most common adverse reactions are local irritation and sensitization of the skin which is usually manifested in the form of skin redness.

Long-term use can lead to skin atrophy, stretch marks and vascular dilatation on the face.

Other side effects are:

  • Burning sensation on the skin
  • Dry skin
  • Hypertrichosis
  • Folliculitis
  • Hypopigmentation
  • Itching

Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.

We and our partners use technology such as cookies on our site to personalise content and ads, provide social media features, and analyse our traffic. Click below to consent to the use of this technology across the web. You can change your mind and change your consent choices at anytime by returning to this site.