Clobetasol Propionate: What It's Used For, Types & Side Effects

Clobetasol propionate is a potent corticosteroid that is prescribed for the treatment of psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, lichen planus, scalp dermatoses or discoid lupus erythematosus.

This medication helps to relieve inflammation and itching caused by an abnormal skin condition. It can be used by adults, older adults or children over 1 year old, as prescribed by a famiky doctor or dermatologist.

Clobetasol propionate can be found in pharmacies or drugstores in the form of a cream, ointment, hair solution, shampoo, emulsion, gel or spray.

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What is it used for?

Clobetasol propionate is used for the treatment of the following skin conditions:

  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Lichen planus
  • Discoid lupus erythematosus
  • Scalp dermatoses
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Clobetasol can also be prescribed for cases of dermatitis that respond to treatment with corticosteroids, as advised by a doctor.

Clobetasol propionate should be used as prescribed with continuous monitoring so that the response to treatment and any side effects can be assessed.

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How to use

Clobetasol propionate is a topical medication that is applied directly to affected skin.

Cobetasol dosing depends on the type that is prescribed, which can include:

1. Clobetasol ointment or cream 0.5 mg/g

Clobetasol ointment or cream 0.5 mg/g can be used by adults or children over 1 year of age.

The normally recommended doses are 1 to 2 applications per day on affected skin for up to 4 weeks of treatment, as advised by the dermatologist.

After symptoms improve, the doctor should reduce the frequency of application or switch to another, less potent corticosteroid.

It is important to wait for the ointment to be completely absorbed before applying moisturizer on the skin.

2. Clobetasol gel 0.5 mg/g

Clobetasol propionate gel 0.5 mg/g is indicated for adults or children over 12 years of age.

A small amount of the gel should be applied directly to the affected area of ​​the skin, 1 to 2 times a day, for up to 2 weeks of treatment, as advised by a dermatologist.

3. Clobetasol hair solution 0.5mg/g

Clobetasol hair solution 0.5mg/g is indicated for the treatment of scalp dermatoses in adults or children over 1 year of age.

The recommended dose is 1 application of the topical hair solution on the affected skin of the scalp twice a day, in the morning and at night, until symptoms improve.

Clobetasol topical hair solution is flammable, as it contains alcohol in its composition. Therefore, it must be stored away from heat and sunlight. Avoiding applying this medication close to heat sources, such as fire. Smokers should avoid smoking until the solution is completely dry.

4. Clobetasol shampoo 0.5 mg/g

Clobetasol propionate shampoo 0.5 mg is indicated only for adults for the treatment of moderate to severe seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis on the scalp. It is often combined with ketoconazole shampoo, an antifungal shampoo. 

The normally recommended doses for adults are:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp: during active outbreaks, clobetasol shampoo can be used twice a week, alternating with the use of ketoconazole shampoo twice a week, for 4 weeks. treatment, or as directed by the doctor;
  • Scalp psoriasis: the recommended dose is 1 application of clobetasol shampoo per day.

To apply clobetasol shampoo, be sure your hair is dry. Move the hair aside to expose affected skin, and apply a small amount of the shampoo to the area, spreading it evenly and massaging gently.

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Leave the shampoo on the scalp to act for 15 minutes and then add a little water to the area to massage until foam forms. Then rinse your hair  with plenty of water and use your usual shampoo.

It is important to wash your entire body and hands after removing the shampoo from your hair. Avoid getting the shampoo on your face, eyes and lips.

Treatment with clobetasol shampoo should be carried out for a maximum of 4 weeks. Shampoo dose should not exceed 46 mL per week.

5. Clobetasol spray 0.42 mg/mL

Clobetasol propionate spray 0.42 mg/mL is indicated for adults for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

The recommended dose is 2 applications of the spray on the affected skin per day. It is massaged gently into the lesions until it is completely absorbed. The maximum dose is 60 mL of the spray per week.

To apply the spray, the skin must be clean and dry. Treatment generally lasts up to 4 weeks, as advised by a dermatologist.

Clobetasol propionate spray contains alcohol in its composition. It is flammable, and therefore you should avoid using it near heat sources, such as fire or cigarettes. You should also store this spray in a dark, cool area, away from heat and sunlight.

6. Clobetasol emulsion 0.5 mg/g

Clobetasol propionate emulsion 0.5 mg/g is indicated for adults with mild to moderate plaque psoriasis.

The emulsion should be applied to dry skin twice a day, in the morning and at night. Be sure to spread evenly over the skin, and to wash your hands thoroughly after each application.

The maximum dose per week is 50 g, or 50 mL of the emulsion.

Care during treatment

During treatment with clobetasol, it is important to follow certain precautions, such as:

  • Avoid exposing affected skin to sunlight;
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher as recommended by your dermatologist. Be sure to apply even on cloudy days, as the skin may become more sensitive to the sun during treatment;
  • Avoid showering or swimming after applying the cream, ointment, spray, emulsion or hair solution;
  • Do not apply this medication to skin with open wounds or ulcers;
  • Do not apply to mucous membranes, such as eyes, nose, mouth or genitals;
  • Do not cover the treated area of ​​skin unless instructed to do so by your doctor, as covering the skin may increase the absorption of clobetasol and cause side effects.

Additionally, it is important to wash your hands after using clobetasol propionate, except in cases where it is used to treat the skin on your hands.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects of clobetasol propionate are itching, pain, burning, stinging, dryness, irritation, redness, folliculitis, contact dermatitis, cracking skin or changes in skin pigmentation.

Although it is less common, skin atrophy, stretch marks or thin purple, red or bluish vessels (referred to as telangiectasia) may also appear on the skin.

In children, the use of clobetasol propionate can interfere with the child's growth, development or weight gain, which is why treatment should be continuously monitored by a pediatrician. The duration of treatment should be as short as possible. 

You should notify your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as blurred vision, eye pain, increased thirst, urinary urgency, dry mouth, weight gain, facial swelling, muscle weakness, depression, anxiety or irritability.

Contraindications for use

Clobetasol propionate should not be used in cases of rosacea, acne vulgaris, itchy skin that is not inflamed, genital itching, perianal itching, or untreated skin infections.

During pregnancy and lactation, clobetasol propionate should only be used if approved by your doctor, after evaluating the benefits of the treatment for the woman and potential risks for the baby.

Clobetasol shampoo, emulsion and spray should not be used by children. The ointment, cream and hair solution should not be used by children under 1 year old, and the gel should not be used by children under 12 years old.