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The eMC  

Last Updated 30 Jul 2014

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Betamethasone valerate 0.1% ointment

Betamethasone Valerate (Beeta-meth-a-zone val-er-rate) is a medicine which is used in inflammatory skin conditions.

The information in this Medicine Guide for Betamethasone valerate varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.

There are 5 preparations of Betamethasone valerate available. If Betamethasone valerate 0.1% ointment is not the preparation you are looking for, please select from the drop down list below.

Select your preparation (type) of Betamethasone valerate

Betamethasone valerate 0.1% ointment

Information specific to Betamethasone valerate 0.1% ointment when used in inflammatory skin conditions

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Your medicine

Betamethasone Valerate reduces inflammation and can help to relieve the symptoms of inflammatory skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. Betamethasone Valerate can be absorbed into the body even though it is prescribed for skin problems. This can lead to side-effects that affect parts of the body other than the skin. If it is used for a long time, in large amounts or is covered with a dressing, these side-effects are more likely to occur.

Other information about Betamethasone Valerate:

  • apply a small amount of Betamethasone Valerate to the affected area of skin
  • if there is no improvement within two to four weeks of using Betamethasone Valerate you should tell your doctor
  • if you are an adult and applying this medicine to your face, you should not use it for more than five days
  • this medicine may not be used in children for more than five days and the treated area should not be covered with a tight dressing
  • your prescriber will try to find the lowest dose of your medicine which can control your condition
  • this medicine should not be used for a long time without a break in treatment particularly if the treated area is on the face, skin folds or other area where the skin is thin; or if it is tightly covered or sealed with a dressing
  • you may apply moisturisers to your skin after applying Betamethasone Valerate especially in areas of the skin where problems are known to occur frequently. Allow some time for Betamethasone Valerate to be absorbed before applying moisturisers. For more information, talk to your prescriber
  • if you are using Betamethasone Valerate on the eyelids take care not to get Betamethasone Valerate into your eyes
  • if you are using a dressing that covers or seals the area being treated, make sure that you know when and how to change the dressing. This is because a dressing that covers or seals the area can lead to moist or warm conditions which may increase the chance of getting infections

Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.

The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should use. It also tells you how often you should use your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should use. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.

If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.

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When to take your medicine

Some medicines work best if they are taken at a specific time of day. Getting the most from your medicine can also be affected by the times at which you take other medicines.

Specific information on when to use Betamethasone Valerate can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine. Alternatively, you can request information about when to take your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

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How to take your medicine

Some medicines have specific instructions about how to take them. This is because they work better when taken correctly. These instructions can include getting the right dose and special instructions for preparing the medicine.

Specific information on how to use Betamethasone Valerate can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the medicine label. Alternatively, you can request information about how to take your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

If you are having problems taking this form of Betamethasone Valerate, you should talk to your prescriber or pharmacist. They may be able to give you advice on other ways to take your medicine or other preparations that are easier for you to take.

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Taking too much of your medicine

Taking extra doses of some medicines can be harmful. In some cases even one extra dose can cause you problems. If you take extra doses of your medicine, you must get medical advice immediately. This is because the effects of taking too much medicine are very complex so it is very important that you seek medical advice.

Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111 for advice.

Make sure you take all of your medicine containers with you if you are advised to go to hospital.

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Stopping your medicine

If you are not having any problems taking this medicine then do not stop using it, even if you feel better, unless advised to do so by your prescriber. If, however, you find that this medicine is causing you problems then you should talk to your prescriber about your concerns.

If your medical team decides that it is best that you do not take this medicine any more, they may advise that you do not stop Betamethasone Valerate abruptly. This is because, in some instances, stopping Betamethasone Valerate abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms or cause your original condition to return. In these instances, reducing the dose of Betamethasone Valerate gradually over time may reduce the chances of having these problems.

If you are in any doubt, contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111.

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Looking after your medicine

The instructions on how you should keep your medicine are on the pharmacy label. It is a good idea to keep your medicine in the original container. This will help to keep your medicine in the best condition and also allow you to check the instructions. Do not take the medicine if the packaging appears to have been tampered with or if the medicine shows any signs of damage. Make sure that the medicine is out of the sight and reach of children.

Specific information on how to look after Betamethasone Valerate can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the medicine label. Alternatively, you can request information about how to look after your medicine from your doctor or pharmacist.

You must not take the medicine after the expiry date shown on the packaging. If you have any unused medicine, return it to your pharmacist who will dispose of it safely.

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Whether this medicine is suitable for you

Betamethasone Valerate is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.

Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:

  • are allergic or sensitive to medicines similar to Betamethasone Valerate such as corticosteroids
  • are allergic or sensitive to or have had a reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine
  • have a large area of skin that needs treating with Betamethasone Valerate
  • have inflamed skin which needs treatment in the area around the mouth, back passage or the genitals
  • have kidney problems
  • have liver problems
  • have skin problems such as rosacea, acne or an infection in the area where Betamethasone Valerate needs to be applied

Furthermore the prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all for a child who is under the age of one year.

As part of the process of assessing suitability to take this medicine a prescriber may also arrange tests:

  • to check that this medicine is not having any undesired effects

Over time it is possible that Betamethasone Valerate can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Betamethasone Valerate has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.

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Side-effects

A medicine is only made available to the public if the clinical trials have shown that the benefits of taking the medicine outweigh the risks.

Once a medicine has been licensed, information on the medicine's effects, both intended and unintended, is continuously recorded and updated.

Some side-effects may be serious while others may only be a mild inconvenience.

Everyone's reaction to a medicine is different. It is difficult to predict which side-effects you will have from taking a particular medicine, or whether you will have any side-effects at all. The important thing is to tell your prescriber or pharmacist if you are having problems with your medicine.

Common: More than 1 in 100 people who use Betamethasone Valerate:

  • burning sensation or pain of the skin
  • itching

Very rare: Fewer than 1 in 10,000 people who use Betamethasone Valerate:

  • abnormal laboratory test results
  • application site problems such as pain and irritation
  • delayed weight gain or growth suppression in children
  • eye problems such as cataracts and glaucoma if Betamethasone Valerate gets into the eye
  • hair problems such as hair loss or excessive hair growth
  • high blood sugar
  • hypersensitivity reactions
  • if Betamethasone Valerate is used in large amounts or for a long period of time, the amount of Betamethasone Valerate which is absorbed into the body may be increased and certain side-effects may occur. These side-effects are related to the effect that corticosteroids have on the whole body. These may include Cushing's syndrome or cushing-like symptoms or adrenal problems. Adrenal problems may lead to skin problems such as thinning, dryness, wrinkling, striae, telangiectasia, skin colour changes or skin wasting
  • infections seek medical advice if you have an infection
  • obesity
  • osteoporosis
  • raised blood pressure
  • redness of the skin
  • skin rash or rashes
  • sugar in the urine
  • urticaria
  • weight gain
  • worsening of dermatitis
  • worsening of psoriasis
  • worsening of the problem that Betamethasone Valerate is being used to treat

If you feel unwell or if you have concerns about a side-effect, you will need to seek advice. If you feel very ill, get medical help straight away. Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, nurse or call 111.

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Taking other medicines

If you are taking more than one medicine they may interact with each other. At times your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, in other cases this may not be appropriate.

The decision to use medicines that interact depends on your specific circumstances. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, if it is believed that the benefits of taking the medicines together outweigh the risks. In such cases, it may be necessary to alter your dose or monitor you more closely.

Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.

The following medicines may interact with Betamethasone Valerate:

The following types of medicine may interact with Betamethasone Valerate:

If you are taking Betamethasone Valerate and one of the above medicines or types of medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.

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Complementary preparations and vitamins

Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins. In general, there is not much information available about interactions between medicines and complementary preparations or vitamins.

If you are planning to take or are already taking any complementary preparations and vitamins you should ask your prescriber whether there are any known interactions with Betamethasone Valerate.

Your prescriber can advise whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact. They can also discuss with you the possible effect that the complementary preparations and vitamins may have on your condition.

If you experience any unusual effects while taking this medicine in combination with complementary preparations and vitamins, you should tell your prescriber.

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Driving and operating machinery

When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

In the case of Betamethasone Valerate:

  • this medicine is unlikely to affect driving ability or the ability to operate machinery

You should see how this medicine affects you before you judge whether you are safe to drive or operate machinery. If you are in any doubt about whether you should drive or operate machinery, talk to your prescriber.

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Diet

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.

In the case of Betamethasone Valerate:

  • there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when using Betamethasone Valerate
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Alcohol

Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.

In the case of Betamethasone Valerate:

  • there are no known interactions between alcohol and Betamethasone Valerate
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Family planning and pregnancy

Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Betamethasone Valerate:

  • you should only use this medicine during pregnancy if your doctor thinks that you need it

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.

If the decision is that you should not have Betamethasone Valerate, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.

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Breast-feeding

Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Betamethasone Valerate:

  • you should only use this medicine while breast-feeding if your doctor thinks you need it
  • do not apply Betamethasone Valerate on the breast

Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. They will help you decide what is best for you and your baby based on the benefits and risks associated with this medicine. You should only breast-feed your baby while taking this medicine on the advice of your doctor or midwife.

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Ingredients of your medicine

Medicines contain active ingredients. They may also contain other, additional ingredients that help ensure the stability, safety and effectiveness of the medicine. They are also added to improve the medicine's appearance and to make it easier to use. Some may be used to prolong the life of the medicine.

This medicine contains betamethasone valerate.

We are unable to list all of the ingredients for your medicine here. For a full list, you should refer to the patient information leaflet that comes with this medicine. You should check that you are able to take the ingredients of your medicine, especially if you have any allergies. You should also check whether any of these ingredients are known to have side-effects.

If you are not able to take any of the ingredients in your medicine, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist to see if they can suggest an alternative medicine. If you have reacted badly to Betamethasone Valerate before, do not take Betamethasone Valerate. Talk to your prescriber, pharmacist or nurse as soon as possible.

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Betamethasone Valerate, Version 12, last updated 30 Jul 2014