Diprosone comes as a cream, lotion or ointment containing an active ingredient called betamethasone dipropionate. This active ingredient belongs to the group of medicines called corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are often simply called steroids and are an anti-inflammatory medicine used to combat a wide range of conditions. Diprosone is a topical corticosteroid, meaning that it is applied to the affected area and not taken orally.
If you have eczema you’ll know that it can be both sore, itchy and uncomfortable and while you can control the symptoms at times, at others you experience flare-ups. Atopic eczema is the most common form of eczema and the one that is more common in children. Atopic eczema usually causes patches of red, itchy, dry cracked skin. Eczema is a long term condition, and there are lifestyle changes you can make to try and alleviate the symptoms, like changing your soap or washing powder to something that doesn’t irritate you skin, and regular use of an emollient cream can help keep your eczema under control. When you experience flare-ups you are likely to turn to different treatments and corticosteroids are one such option, some steroid creams are available over-the-counter, while other, more potent corticosteroids require a prescription.
What is Diprosone?
Diprosone comes as a cream, lotion or ointment containing an active ingredient called betamethasone dipropionate. This active ingredient belongs to the group of medicines called corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids are often simply called steroids and are an anti-inflammatory medicine used to combat a wide range of conditions.
Diprosone is a topical corticosteroid, meaning that it is applied to the affected area and not taken orally.
When is Diprosone used?
Diprosone cream, lotion or ointment is usually used on all sorts of skin conditions which are red, itchy and inflamed.
The active ingredient, betamethasone dipropionate works to reduce the redness, itching and swelling. It can be used to treat the following skin conditions:
- Atopic eczema
Diprosone should only be used externally and can be used by both adults and children.
How do you use Diprosone?
All medicines vary according to the person taking them and their needs, so always follow your doctor or pharmacist’s advice when it comes to using the treatments they prescribe.
Diprosone cream and ointment are very similar and are used in the same way. The cream is slightly lighter and thinner than the ointment and is absorbed more quickly. Which you use will depend upon your personal preference as to what suits you best as they contain the same amount of active ingredient.
Diprosone lotion should only be used on the scalp.
To apply the cream or ointment:
- Apply a thin layer of the cream or ointment where it is needed;
- Rub the cream/ointment gently into the skin.
To apply the lotion:
- Apply a thin layer of the lotion to the affected area of the scalp;
- Rub in gently.
What dosages are there?
As with all medicines, always follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to using medicines or treatments. As a general guide.
- Diprosone should be applied to the affected area once or twice a day;
- Only use on the affected area, do not use over large areas of the skin or scalp;
- Do not use the cream or ointment on your face for more than five days;
- Try not to get the cream/ointment in your eyes when applying it;
- Do not cover with bandages or plasters as this increases the likelihood of side effects;
- Avoid naked flames while using the treatment as it can make clothing highly flammable.
- Apply once daily;
- Only apply to the affected area, do not use over large areas of the skin;
- Avoid getting the cream/lotion/ointment into your child’s eyes;
- Do not use for more than five days on any area of the body;
- Do not use under a nappy as this may lead to unpleasant side effects;
- Do no use under bandages or plasters for the same reason;
- Avoid naked flames while using the treatment as it can make clothing highly flammable.
If for any reason you forget to apply the treatment when you should, simply apply it as soon as you remember.
If you need to use the treatment over a longer period of time:
- Your doctor may prescribe a lower dose, e.g. applying only once a day, to help prevent side effects.
If you are unsure how much cream to use at each application:
It can be helpful to use a Finger Tip Unit (FTU) as a guide. To obtain an FTU squeeze out a line of cream onto your fingertip from the very tip to the first crease line. An FTU of cream should treat an area around the size of the palm of your hand.
Below is an example of how many Finger Tip Units should be used on particular areas of skin for adults:
- 0.5 for genitals;
- 1 for hands, elbows and knees;
- 1.5 for feet including the soles;
- 2.5 for the face and neck;
- 3 for the scalp;
- 4 for a hand and arm together or your buttocks;
- 8 for the legs including the foot, chest or back.
For children, this will need to be adapted according to their age.
If you use too much Diprosone:
If you use Diprosone for too long or over an area of skin which is too large or you use the cream too frequently this can lead to complications. It can affect the hormones and this can lead to growth and development issues in children.
- If you use too much Dirprosone please seek medical assistance;
- If you accidently swallow Disprosone when applying cream to your face it is unlikey to be serious, but if you are worried speak to a medical professional.
When you want to stop using Diprosone:
- If you have been using Disprosone over a long period of time, speak to your doctor or pharmacist as it is better to reduce usage slowly as this will help to prevent a flare-up.
What are the side effects of Diprosone?
Just like any medicine Diprosone comes with a warning of some side effects, although not everyone who uses the treatment will experience them.
On the whole, if Diprosone is used correctly side effects are very few: side effects to look out for are:
- Stinging skin;
- Blistering skin;
- Peeling skin;
- A flare-up of the existing condition;
- Burning sensation;
- Excessive hair growth;
- Inflammation of the hair follicles;
- Allergic skin reactions;
- Reduced skin pigmentation;
- Skin infections;
- Thinning of the skin;
- Red marks;
- Blurred vision.
Children and infants are more likely to experience these side effects, which is why they shouldn’t use the treatment for long periods of time. The elderly are also more susceptible to side effects.
Rare side effects:
In rare cases (particularly in children) Diprosone may be absorbed from the skin into the bloodstream, causing the side effects of too much corticosteroid. These include:
- Unusual extreme tiredness;
- Weight loss;
- Swelling of the ankles or feet;
- Increased thirst;
- Increased need to urinate;
- Problems with vision.
Seek immediate medical assistance if any of the above occur.
Allergic reactions are rare, but serious allergic reactions are life-threatening so always seek immediate medical assistance if you think you are suffering from an allergic reaction. Signs to look out for are:
- Breathing difficulties;
- Severe dizziness;
- Swelling around the face, mouth, tongue and throat.
When shouldn’t you use Diprosone?
Do not use Diprosone if any of the following apply to you:
- You are allergic to Betamethasone Dipropionate, corticosteroids or any of the other ingredients listed on the packet;
- You have a skin condition that isn’t supposed to be treated with corticosteroids (for example rosacea, acne, dermatitis, nappy rash, cold sores, chickenpox, shingles or genital itching). Using Diprosone in these circumstances could actually make your condition worse.
Take special care when using Diprosone if any of the following apply:
- You are using the treatment long term to treat psoriasis, you should have regular check-ups with your doctor so they can monitor dosages and the length of time you need to use the treatment;
- The person being treated is a child, children are more at risk of the steroid being absorbed into their bloodstream than adults – always use the treatment as directed over a short period of time;
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding – always seek medical advice before starting any treatment if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Does Diprosone interact with other medications?
Always tell your doctor or pharmacist about any other medication you are taking, even over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies and supplements as sometimes these can interact with one another and cause problems or lessen the effectiveness of your medication.
- Diprosone may interact with oral corticosteroids;
- You can use an emollient cream alongside Diprosone.
Where can you buy Diprosone?
You can buy Diprosone from any reputable pharmacy, use the pharmacy you find most convenient. You will not be able to buy Diprosone in other stores.
Can I get Diprosone without a prescription?
No, you cannot buy Diprosone without a prescription. You will need to undergo a consultation with a doctor to get a prescription if you want to use Diprosone.
Steroids are controlled as using them over a long period of time or using too much can lead to serious complications. The doctor will need to check that your condition is indeed treatable with a corticosteroid and prescribe the right amount to help control your symptoms without leading to unnecessary complications.
Merck, Sharp & Dohme, 2019. Package Leaflet. Medicines.org.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2020 from <https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.1138.pdf>
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NHS UK, 2019. Atopic Eczema. Retrieved 1 April 2020 from <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/atopic-eczema/>
NHS UK, 2020. Topical Corticosteroids. nhs.uk. Retrieved 1 April 2020 from <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/topical-steroids/>
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