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Betnovate is a topical corticosteroid that is applied directly to the skin. It contains the active ingredient, betamethasone valerate, which is a cortisone. Betnovate works by suppressing inflammatory reactions. It has proved to be an effective treatment for many skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema, that have failed to respond to milder treatments. It is also used to treat haemorrhoids. It is important to note that Betnovate suppresses the symptoms of certain conditions but is not a curative, and the symptoms may return after discontinuation. Betnovate is not suitable for long-term use. Betnovate is available on prescription for adults and children over the age of one, in the form of a cream or an ointment. As a general rule, Betnovate cream is more suitable for treating wet skin conditions, while Betnovate ointment is better at treating dry, flaky skin.

  • Used to treat eczema and other inflammatory skin conditions
  • Corticosteroid/cream
  • Also available as lotion
  • Reduces itching, swelling, redness and scaling

About Betnovate

Betnovate contains a medicine called betamethasone valerate, a potent topical corticosteroid (steroid). This medicine reduces skin inflammation, which in turn helps reduce symptoms such as itching, swelling, redness and scaling. Betamethasone is used to treat skin conditions such as:

  • Eczema.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Lichen planus/lichen sclerosus.
  • Lupus erythematosus.

Betnovate is only used when a less potent corticosteroid ointment, cream or lotion does not improve the symptoms.


Betnovate is available as ointment, cream and lotion (liquid solution).

  • The cream is used for weeping skin conditions.
  • The ointment is used for dry and irritated skin.
  • The lotion is used in hairy areas of the skin where it is difficult to apply ointment and cream.

The doctor will recommend the right variant for you depending on your symptoms. The general guidelines for use are as follows.

Cream and ointment

Apply a thin layer to the affected area(s) and gently rub into the skin. It's best to have a shower or bath before applying this medicine. Unless you are meant to apply Betnovate to your hands as a part of the treatment, wash them again after using the cream or ointment. Wait for the cream or ointment to be absorbed completely before applying moisturisers to the same area of skin.


Gently squeeze the bottle to cover the affected area of skin with a thin and even layer of liquid. Gently rub the lotion into the skin. It's best to have a shower or bath before applying this medicine. Make sure your hair is dry before using the lotion. Wash your hands thoroughly after use.


Dosage varies per person and is determined by a doctor depending on the symptoms. The recommended dose in adults and children aged 12 months and above is:

  • Apply a thin layer to the affected skin twice a day, in the morning and evening. The frequency can be reduced to once a day or less if the symptoms improve.

In general, you should not use more than 30-60 grams of cream/ointment/lotion in a week.

If you have a recurring skin condition, your doctor may suggest switching to a maintenance dose once your symptoms improve to prevent your condition from flaring up again. You may be advised to apply Betnovate thinly twice a week (once daily) to areas of your skin where eczema tends to appear the most.

Betnovate is not recommended in children under 12 months of age.


This medicine does not interact with alcohol and will normally not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.

If you use too much/forget to use/stop using Betnovate

If you have used more Betnovate than you should, acute overdose is unlikely to occur. However, in the case of chronic overdose or if accidentally swallowed, it could make you ill. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. See the package leaflet for more information.

If you forget to apply your dose of Betnovate, apply it as soon as you remember. If it is close to the time you are next meant to apply it, wait until this time.

If you use Betnovate regularly make sure you talk to your doctor before you stop using it as your condition may get worse if stopped suddenly.

When not to use Betnovate

Betnovate is not suitable for everyone. Do not use this medicine if:

  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients in this medicine (see section ‘What Betnovate contains').
  • You have previously had an allergic reaction with another steroid.
  • You suffer from ichthyosis vulgaris or juvenile dermatomyositis.
  • You experience skin thinning.
  • Blood vessels under the surface of your skin are noticeable.

Do not Betnovate to treat any of the following skin problems, as it could make them worse:

  • Infected skin due to a virus, bacteria, fungus or parasite (unless the infection is being treated).
  • Adolescent spots (acne).
  • Rosacea.
  • Spotty red rash around your mouth (perioral dermatitis).
  • Itchy skin which is not inflamed.
  • Itching around the anus or genitals (penis or vagina).
  • Sores and open wounds.

When should this medicine be used with caution?

Certain situations may increase the risk of side effects. Side effects may occur in other parts of the body (systemic effects), such as adrenal insufficiency, growth retardation (in children), osteoporosis after long-term use, weight gain and rounding of the face (Cushing syndrome).

If Betnovate is used long term on large areas of skin, or under airtight dressings (including nappies), it is absorbed into the body more, increasing the risk of side effects. Children, elderly people or people with a decreased liver or kidney function are more likely to experience these side effects. For more information on these risks and how to avoid them, see the package leaflet.

Take special care with using Betnovate if you have psoriasis. Your body can develop a tolerance after a period of continual use. You may get raised bumps with pus under the skin (pustular psoriasis).

For more warnings, please see the package leaflet. Consult a doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure if Betnovate is suitable for you.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding


Corticosteroids are known to pass through the placenta and are harmful to the unborn child. Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant without consulting your doctor.


Do not use this medicine if you are breastfeeding without consulting your doctor.

Other medicines and Betnovate

Please tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are using or have recently used any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription, herbal medicines or other natural products.

Betnovate is known to interact with some medicines, including:

  • Ritonavir (antiviral medicine).
  • Itraconazole (used to treat fungal infections).

Side effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although some people may not experience any. Side effects may occur on your skin or in other parts of your body (systemic effects) if large amounts of the medicine has been absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin.

If you find that your skin condition gets worse or your skin becomes swollen during treatment, you may be allergic to Betnovate, have an infection or need other treatment. Stop using Betnovate and tell your doctor immediately.

Other side effects you may notice when using Betnovate (frequency not known):

  • Increased risk of infection in people with a weakened immune system.
  • Allergic reaction at the site of application.
  • Weight gain, rounding of the face (Cushing syndrome), increase in belly fat.
  • Delayed weight gain.
  • Slowing of growth in children.
  • A decrease in the level of the hormone cortisol in your blood.
  • Increased blood sugar levels or sugar in the urine.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Decrease in bone mass and density (osteoporosis).
  • Eye problems such as blurred vision, ocular hypertension, cloudy lens in the eye (cataract), or increased pressure in eye (glaucoma).
  • Skin problems such as thinning of the skin, dry skin, appearance of blood vessels under the surface of the skin, changes in pigmentation, increase in hair growth, psoriasis with raised bumps with pus under the skin (pustular psoriasis), skin redness, skin rash.

For a complete list of possible side effects, see the package leaflet. If you experience side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any possible side effects not listed in the leaflet.

What Betnovate contains

The active substance is betamethasone valerate. Each gram of lotion/ointment/cream contains 1.21 mg of betamethasone valerate (0.122% w/w).

Reviewed by:

Dr Arco Verhoog, Pharmacist Registrationnumber: BIG: 19065378617 Last checked: 21-08-2023 | Still valid

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