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Clobetasol Propionate Topical Steroid Treatment for Skin Conditions

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Clobetasol Propionate is a topical steroid ointment that is used to treat various auto-immune and skin conditions, such as:

• Severe eczema
• Anogenital pruritus (genital and anal itch)
• Psoriasis
• Lichen planus (an itchy skin rash that can also affect the mouth and genitals)
• Discoid lupus erythematosus (an auto immune disease where the immune system attacks the skin)
• Localized vulvodynia

The steroid ointment works by reducing the amount of inflammation, redness and itching. It is intended as a short-term treatment to deal with a flare up of the person’s autoimmune or skin condition, and should not be used longer than four weeks at a time, although repeat courses may be necessary for a longer term condition.

If used too much, clobetasol propionate can thin your skin.

Children should not use the ointment for longer than five days and not at all if they are less than 12 years old according to drugs.com. For dermatitis, the cream or ointment can be applied sparely up to twice a day as your doctor prescribes. The rash should be regularly reevaluated by your doctor while your child is having this medication.

You should only apply a thin amount since the medication is quite strong. If your doctor has advised you to use the ointment under a dressing, you should wash and dry the area first before applying the dressing.

You should not use this product for any infectious conditions such as thrush, cold sores or ringworm. Don’t apply it to broken skin. Don’t put it near your face unless your doctor advised you to.

Contraindications (Reasons why you shouldn’t have it)

• Hypersensitivity to clobetasol propionate or any other ingredients in the product
• Hypersensitivity to corticosteroids
• Infections of the scalp
• If you are pregnant (unless your doctor says it’s okay)
• If you are breastfeeding (unless your doctor says it’s okay) – it is not known if the steroid is excreted in human milk.

Side effects

Local reactions, allergic contact dermatitis, irritation, dryness, secondary skin infection, thinning of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, rash, stretch marks, numbness of the fingers, sore elbow, burning and stinging are possible side effects. In products intended for the scalp, tightening of the scalp, pustules, swelling, hair loss or excessive hair growth and headache can also occur.

It can suppress the HPA axis (the interactions between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands). These control the immune system, metabolism, mood and sexual functioning.

If this happens, your doctor will either discontinue the medication, reduce the frequency of the applications or switch you to another steroid that isn’t as strong. Full recovery normally occurs once you stop using the ointment.

Other side effects may also occur that aren’t mentioned here. You should see the patient information leaflet that came with the product for full information.


Clobetasol Propionate, Drugs.com. Web. 15 February 2012. http://www.drugs.com/monograph/clobetasol-propionate.html

Dermovate cream/ointment, Net Doctor. Web. 15 February 2012. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/skin-and-hair/medicines/dermovate-cream-and-ointment.html

Clobetasol propionate, Patient UK. Web. 15 February 2012. http://www.patient.co.uk/showdoc/30003915/

Lichen Planus by Dr. Hope Haefner. American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology. Web. 15 February 2012.

Treatments for Vulval Pain, UK Lichen Planus. Web. 15 February 2012. http://www.uklp.org.uk/Downloads/Useful_Treatments.pdf

Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting.

Reviewed February 16, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jessica Obert

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