Betamethasone

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Betamethasone Brand Name(s): Betamethasone.

Uses

What is betamethasone used for?

Betamethasone is a corticosteroid. It works by modifying the body’s immune response to various conditions and decreasing inflammation.

Betamethasone is commonly used for treating certain conditions decreased adrenal gland function and severe inflammation (including severe asthma, severe allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, certain blood disorders, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and certain eye and skin conditions). It may be used for certain types of cancer (e.g., leukemia).

It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

How should I take betamethasone?

Measure the liquid form of betamethasone with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Your steroid medication needs may change if you have unusual stress such as a serious illness, fever or infection, or if you have surgery or a medical emergency. Tell your doctor about any such situation that affects you.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using betamethasone.

Do not stop using betamethasone suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication.

How do I store betamethasone?

Betamethasone is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store betamethasone in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of betamethasone that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush betamethasone down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using betamethasone?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to betamethasone, or if you have a fungal infection anywhere in your body.

Steroid medication can weaken your immune system, making it easier for you to get an infection. Steroids can also worsen an infection you already have, or reactivate an infection you recently had. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor about any illness or infection you have had within the past several weeks.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Pregnancy

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using betamethasone during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking betamethasone. Betamethasone is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Breastfeeding

Betamethasone can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breastfeeding a baby.

 

Side effects

What side effects can occur from betamethasone?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • Problems with your vision
  • Swelling
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Severe depression
  • Unusual thoughts or behavior
  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Bloody or tarry stools
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate)
  • Low potassium (confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling)
  • Dangerously high blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath, uneven heartbeats, seizure)

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Mood changes
  • Acne, dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration
  • Slow wound healing
  • Increased sweating
  • Headache, dizziness, spinning sensation
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloating
  • Changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist)

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with betamethasone?

Betamethasone may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products may interact with this drug include:

  • Aspirin (taken on a daily basis or at high doses)
  • A diuretic (water pill)
  • A blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune)
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Insulin or diabetes medications you take by mouth
  • Rifampin (Rifadin, Rifater, Rifamate, Rimactane)
  • Seizure medications such as phenytoin (Dilantin) or phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton)

Does food or alcohol interact with betamethasone?

Betamethasone may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with betamethasone?

Betamethasone may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

These include:

  • Liver disease (such as cirrhosis)
  • Kidney disease
  • A thyroid disorder
  • Diabetes
  • A history of malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • A muscle disorder such as myasthenia gravis
  • Glaucoma or cataracts
  • Herpes infection of the eyes
  • Stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, or diverticulitis
  • Depression or mental illness
  • Congestive heart failure
  • High blood pressure

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take betamethasone.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using betamethasone.

What is the dose of betamethasone for an adult?

Usual adult dose for dermatological disorders:

Acetate with phosphate: 0.2 ml per square cm intramuscular route only.

Maximum dose: 1 ml/week.

Usual adult dose for bursitis:

Acetate with phosphate (the following are given at 3 to 7 day intervals)

Under heloma durum or heloma molle: 0.25 to 0.5 ml

Under calcaneal spur: 0.5 ml

Over hallux rigidus or digiti quinti varus: 0.5 ml

Usual adult dose for gouty arthritis:

Acetate with phosphate: 0.5 to 1 ml in affected foot at 3 to 7 day intervals.

Usual adult dose for osteoarthritis:

Acetate with phosphate:

  • Very large joints: 1 to 2 ml
  • Large joints: 1 ml
  • Medium joints: 0.5 to 1 ml
  • Small joints: 0.25 to 0.5 ml

Usual adult dose for anti-inflammatory:

Tablet and syrup: 0.6 to 7.2 mg/day orally.

Sodium phosphate: intravenous up to 9 mg/day.

Acetate with phosphate, intramuscular only: 0.6 to 9 mg/day divided every 12 to 24 hours.

What is the dose of betamethasone for a child?

Usual pediatric dose for anti-inflammatory:

Intramuscular: 0.0175 to 0.125 mg base/kg/day divided every 6 to 12 hours.

Oral: 0.0175 to 0.25 mg/kg/day divided every 6 to 8 hours.

How is betamethasone available?

Betamethasone is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Injectable suspension, usp
  • 30 mg*/5 ml (6 mg*/ml)
  • 5 ml multiple dose vial

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose or forget to take your medicine, contact your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: December 25, 2016 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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