What are the risks and side effects of clobetasol?
Clobetasol is a topical corticosteroid used to treat inflammation, itching, swelling and pain caused by skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It is one of the most potent topical steroids; therefore, it is intended for short term use only. Clobetasol is available in different topical forms, including a cream, lotion, gel, spray, foam, scalp solution, ointment and shampoo.
While using clobetasol, one or more of the following side effects may develop: blisters; burning, irritation, peeling, redness, crusting of the application site; dry skin; inflammation of hair follicles; rash around the mouth; skin discoloration; spider veins; striae (skin streaks); thinning of the skin; and skin infections. Since clobetesol is applied to the skin for its affect on the skin, little is expected to be absorbed into the bloodstream. However, enough may be absorbed to cause non-skin related side effects, such as coughing and sore throat. Serious side effects include: changes in mood, muscle weakness, persistent fatigue and vision problems. Signs of a serious allergic reaction include: hives, itching, difficulty breathing, rash, tightness in the chest and swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue. If an allergic reaction develops, seek emergency medical assistance.
How does clobetasol affect children?
Clobetasol can be used to treat some skin conditions in children 12 years of age and older. Corticosteroids can affect children differently than adults. Using clobetasol on children younger than 12 years of age is not recommended because clobetasol is a type of corticosteroid. When using clobetasol with children, it's important to use the exact amount prescribed. Using too much clobetasol may affect a child's growth. While using clobetasol, a child's doctor will want to monitor growth and overall health. There's an increased risk for adrenal gland problems with long-term use of clobetasol by children. If a child develops one or more of the following symptoms while using clobetasol, talk to the doctor immediately: dizziness/faintness; irregular heartbeat; increased thirst; increased urination; irritability; severe fatigue; severe weakness; or trouble with vision.
Can I overdose on clobetasol?
Yes, like many other drugs, clobetasol can be overdosed. This medication may be harmful if swallowed; it is for external use only. Because it is a topical medication that comes in many different formulations (creams, gels, ointments, lotions, sprays), an overdose may occur with large amounts. Your local poison control center (1-800-222-1222) and your doctor can help you determine what to do. If the person who has overdosed is not breathing or has collapsed, call 911 for emergency services.
See corticosteroid overdose in our Health Encyclopedia.
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