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Betamethasone (By mouth)

Treats inflammation and many other medical problems. This medicine is a corticosteroid.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Brand names include
Other forms
Injection, Injection, On the skin, On the skin, On the skin
Drug classes About this
Diagnostic Agent, Adrenocortical Function, Endocrine-Metabolic Agent, Immune Suppressant
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Mixed treatment comparison of a two-compound formulation (TCF) product containing calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate with other topical treatments in psoriasis vulgaris

OBJECTIVE: The efficacy of the two-compound formulation (TCF) product containing calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate applied once daily in psoriasis has been demonstrated in phase III trials but no randomised clinical trial comparing all commonly used topical treatments exists. The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy of once-daily use of the TCF product relative to other commonly used topical agents in plaque psoriasis.

The effectiveness of two-compound formulation calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate gel in the treatment of moderately severe scalp psoriasis: a systematic review of direct and indirect evidence

The review found that the two-compound formulation calcipotriol and betamethasone dipropionate gel may be safer and more effective than other topical therapies for treating moderately severe psoriasis of the scalp. In view of limitations in the review, in particular differences between the included trials and the use of indirect comparisons, the reliability of the authors' conclusions is unclear.

Repeated antenatal corticosteroid treatment: a systematic review and meta-analysis

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the efficacy and safety of repeated antenatal corticosteroid on neonatal morbidity, growth and later development.

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Summaries for consumers

Corticosteroid treatments before early birth for reducing death, lung problems and brain haemorrhage in babies

Babies born early are at risk of death, lung problems (respiratory distress syndrome) and bleeding of the brain (intraventricular haemorrhage). Corticosteroids are given to the mother to help stop these problems occurring and there is high‐quality evidence that they are effective in preventing many of these problems. These drugs work by maturing the baby's lungs before birth. There are different types of corticosteroids and they can be given in different ways and in different doses. Since there is no clear or agreed best type or dose, hospitals may vary in how they give this drug.

Interventions for pityriasis rosea, skin rash of unknown cause

Pityriasis rosea is a scaly rash that mostly affects young adults. It is relatively common and affects about 170 out of every 100,000 people in the community each year. The first sign is a patch of scales, usually on the trunk. A generalised eruption then follows and all lesions disappear within 2 to 12 weeks. This review is important because about 50% of people with pityriasis rosea experience moderate to severe itch. It is not known whether the current treatments, which include tablets, creams, and ultra‐violet radiation, are useful and whether the benefits outweigh the risk of adverse effects.

Corticosteroids for HELLP syndrome in pregnancy

Pre‐eclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure with protein in the urine and sometimes progression to seizures (fits). HELLP syndrome is a more severe form of pre‐eclampsia which can cause problems with liver function, blood clotting, and low platelets. HELLP may be diagnosed during pregnancy or after giving birth and is associated with ill health for the mother including liver hematoma, rupture, or failure; pulmonary edema; renal failure and death. Infant health may also be poor, primarily due to premature birth and growth restriction.This review examined the effect of treating women with HELLP syndrome using corticosteroids (which can reduce inflammation). The results of this review did not indicate that there was a clear effect on the health of pregnant women when treated with corticosteroids, or their babies. Corticosteroids did appear to improve some components of the women's blood tests, but it is not clear that this had an effect on their overall health. The review identified 11 randomized controlled trials involving 550 women that compared corticosteroid (dexamethasone, betamethasone, or prednisolone) given during pregnancy, just after delivery or in the postnatal period, or both before and after birth, with placebo or no treatment. Two further trials showed that there was no clear difference between dexamethasone and betamethasone on the substantive clinical outcomes for women or their infants. Dexamethasone did improve maternal platelet count and some biochemical measures to a greater extent than betamethasone.

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