BMA Concise Guide to Medicine & Drugs


Brand names Clarelux, Dermovate, Etrivex

Used in the following combined preparation Dermovate-NN


Drug group Topical cortisosteroid

Overdose danger rating Low

Dependence rating Low

Prescription needed Yes

Available as generic No


Clobetasol is a potent corticosteroid drug used for the short-term treatment of inflammatory skin conditions that have not responded to treatment with a less potent corticosteroid. Clobetasol is used to treat conditions such as resistant eczema or psoriasis, discoid lupus erythematosus, lichen planus, and lichen simplex.

Because clobetasol is one of the strongest topical corticosteroids, it should be applied thinly and sparingly only to affected areas, and for the shortest possible duration. This is to prevent skin damage and to avoid rare systemic side effects, which can occur from the drug’s absorption through the skin. Such side effects include pituitary or adrenal gland suppression and Cushing’s syndrome. In addition, the drug should not be used on untreated bacterial, fungal, or viral skin infections.

Treatment of psoriasis with clobetasol must only be carried out under specialist care and supervision.


Your drug prescription is tailored for you. Do not alter dosage without checking with your doctor.

How taken/used Cream, ointment, scalp application.

Frequency and timing of doses 1 x 2 times daily. If treating the face, use for no more than 5 days.

Dosage range No more than 50g weekly.

Onset of effect 12 hours. Full beneficial effect after 48 hours.

Duration of action Up to 24 hours.

Diet advice None.

Storage Keep in original container at room temperature out of the reach of children.

Missed dose Use as soon as you remember. If your next application is due within 8 hours, apply the usual amount now and skip the next application.

Stopping the drug Do not stop using the drug without consulting your doctor; symptoms may recur.

Exceeding the dose An occasional unintentional extra application is unlikely to cause problems. But if you notice any unusual symptoms, notify your doctor.


Most people who use clobetasol as directed do not have problems. Adverse effects mainly affect the skin. They include thinning of the skin, stretch marks, threads veins, enlargement of blood capillaries in the skin, acne, dermatitis, and loss of pigmentation. Some of these effects cannot be reversed and you should talk to your doctor if any of them develop. Rarely, clobetasol may cause growth of unwanted hair.




Be sure to tell your doctor if:

· You have a cold sore or chickenpox.

· You have any other infection.

· You have psoriasis.

· You have acne or rosacea.

· You are taking other medicines.

Pregnancy Safety in pregnancy not established. Discuss with your doctor.

Breast-feeding The drug passes into the breast milk and may affect the baby. Discuss with your doctor.

Infants and children Not recommended for infants under 1 year. Used only with great caution for short periods in older children because overuse increases the risk of side effects.

Over 60 No special problems.

Driving and hazardous work No special problems.

Alcohol No special problems.


Clobetasol is not normally used for more than 4 weeks. If the condition has not improved in 2 to 4 weeks, you should notify your doctor.