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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Betnovate Cream: The Importance of Sticking to Doctor's Instructions

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

Introduction

Betnovate Cream is a widely used topical steroid-containing medication known for its effectiveness in treating various skin conditions.


However, steroid is a double-edged sword! When used correctly (and under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist), it can do wonders for your skin condition, but if you use it unsupervised for a long amount of time on your own, it can damage your skin, at times beyond repair!


In short, this prescription cream must always be used correctly to avoid potential risks and side effects.


This article will explore the proper usage of Betnovate Cream, common misuses, and the consequences of improper use.

 

Table of Contents

 

Understanding Betnovate Cream

Betnovate Cream contains the active ingredient betamethasone valerate, a potent corticosteroid. It is commonly prescribed for conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and lichen planus, to name a few! However, remember that Betnovate Cream is a prescription medication, and its use should always be guided by a dermatologist.


The Importance of Proper Usage

Using Betnovate Cream correctly is of paramount importance. Incorrect use can lead to a range of side effects, skin damage, and other complications. In fact, improper use can worsen the very skin conditions you're trying to treat. Let's delve into why proper usage matters.


Common Misuses and Their Consequences

  • Overusing the Cream: Applying Betnovate Cream excessively or for extended periods can lead to a phenomenon known as tachyphylaxis. Tachyphylaxis refers to a swift reduction in the body's response to repeated doses of a medication, leading to its decreased effectiveness.

  • Using Betnovate as a 'Fairness Cream:' Many patients end up using Betnovate, without any doctor's supervision, for its so-called 'fairness cream' properties. Using fairness creams containing steroids can seem like a quick solution to achieve a lighter complexion, but it's a choice laden with potential risks and drawbacks. Click here to find a list of its side effects. As a result, most countries worldwide have banned the use of steroids in over-the-counter fairness cream.

  • Using it on the Wrong Skin Conditions: Using Betnovate Cream on conditions it's not intended for, like fungal infections, acne, or melasma, can exacerbate the problem.

  • Using it Without Medical Supervision: Prolonged use without a doctor's guidance can lead to systemic absorption of the steroid, potentially causing hormonal imbalances.

How to Use Betnovate Cream Properly

First and foremost, Betnovate is NOT an over-the-counter product, and it should NEVER be used without a dermatologist's supervision.

The only time you'd ever be using Betnovate (or any other steroidal cream, for that matter) is if it has been prescribed by your dermatologist or physician.

To apply Betnovate Cream correctly,

  • Wash and dry the affected area before application.

  • Apply a very thin layer to the affected skin.

  • Use it sparingly and only as directed by your healthcare provider. Sometimes your healthcare provider might advise you to dilute Betnovate with an emollient or moisturiser to reduce it's potency. So, follow their instructions very carefully.

  • Do not cover the treated area with airtight dressings unless advised.

  • I'd say it again: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow your doctor's instructions on the dosage, frequency, and duration of use.

Betnovate Cream Side Effects

Adverse side effects can include:

  1. Skin Thinning: Prolonged use of steroid-containing creams can cause the skin to become thinner and more fragile.

  2. Acne and Pimples: Steroids can lead to the development of acne and pimples, especially on the face.

  3. Skin Infections: Incessant usage of steroids alters skin's immunity and promotes the development of bacterial and fungal infections like ringworm, folliculitis, and furuncles.

  4. Stretch Marks: Steroid creams can increase the risk of developing stretch marks.

  5. Increased Hair Growth: In many cases, excessive use of these creams can lead to increased hair growth on the face and body.

  6. Skin Sensitivity: The skin can become more sensitive, making it prone to irritation, redness, and even rosacea.

  7. Withdrawal Effects: When the use of steroid-containing creams is stopped abruptly, it can lead to rebound redness and worsening of the skin condition.

  8. Thinning of Blood Vessels: Steroids can cause the blood vessels in the skin to become more prominent.

  9. Contact Dermatitis to Steroids: Although Betnovate and other topical steroids are commonly prescribed for treating contact allergies, some patients might be allergic to the active compound or additives in topical steroid creams.


What is the difference between Betnovate N and C?

Betnovate N:

  • Composition: Betnovate N contains two active ingredients, Betamethasone (a corticosteroid) and Neomycin (an antibiotic).

  • Use: It is primarily prescribed to treat various skin conditions that involve inflammation and itching, where there is a risk of bacterial infection. Conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis may benefit from Betnovate N.

  • However, if you already have an active bacterial infection, completely refrain from using Betnovate N cream.

Betnovate C:

  • Composition: Betnovate C contains Betamethasone (corticosteroid) and Clioquinol (an antifungal and antibacterial agent).

  • Use: It is typically used to treat skin conditions with indications similar to Betnovate N, which require a combination of corticosteroid and antimicrobial action.

  • It is also useful in patients with neomycin allergy who have inflammatory skin diseases where betamethasone cream is indicated.

  • However, if you already have an active bacterial infection, completely refrain from using Betnovate C cream.


Alternatives and When to Consult a Dermatologist

For some skin conditions, there are alternatives to Betnovate Cream, such as milder topical steroids like mometasone, hydrocortisone, or desonide, and other non-fluorinated steroids. We also have non-steroidal topical treatments like calcineurin inhibitors (tacrolimus and pimecrolimus) and topical vitamin D analogues (calcipotriol, tacalcitol, etc) with fairly comparable immunomodulatory properties like topical steroids. However, all these agents are prescription-grade drugs, and you must always consult a dermatologist to know if your skin condition requires any of these therapies.


Additionally, while using Betnovate, see your nearest dermatologist if:

  • Your skin condition doesn't improve with Betnovate Cream.

  • You experience side effects that concern you.

  • You have underlying health issues that may interact with the medication.

Conclusion

Properly using Betnovate Cream is essential for achieving the desired therapeutic effects while minimizing potential risks. Always follow your healthcare provider's guidance when using prescription medications for your skin. Your skin's health is worth the extra attention and care.

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