Clobetasol propionate is a high dose topical corticosteroid medication that doctors sometimes prescribe to treat psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. It is available in various forms, including as a cream, ointment, foam, shampoo, and spray.

Clobetasol propionate may provide symptom relief for people with psoriasis. However, as it only has an effect on the treated areas of skin, it does not cure psoriasis or prevent it from getting worse.

Several topical treatments are available to alleviate psoriasis symptoms, and doctors may not always recommend corticosteroids.

In this article, we examine clobetasol propionate and how to use it. We also look at the associated health risks of this treatment and list some alternative medications.

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Clobetasol propionate is one of the most potent topical steroids that a doctor can prescribe. They may use it to treat various skin conditions, including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. It is available in the following forms:

  • cream
  • foam
  • ointment
  • shampoo
  • spray
  • lotion

People need a prescription from a doctor to get clobetasol propionate. The National Psoriasis Foundation lists the following examples of brand names for clobetasol propionate:

  • Cormax
  • Clobex
  • Olux
  • Temovate

Research indicates that clobetasol propionate may help treat psoriasis lesions during a flare by:

  • reducing inflammation
  • decreasing the immune system’s response
  • providing some antimitotic effects, which reduce cell turnover

Clobetasol propionate is very potent. A person should follow the instructions that their doctor provides and read the information on the medication label.

How a person uses clobetasol propionate will vary depending on the formula a doctor prescribes. Typically, a person applies clobetasol propionate to patches of psoriasis on the skin.

The National Library of Medicine provides the following instructions for using clobetasol cream:

  • Apply a thin layer of cream to the affected skin twice each day for a maximum of 2 weeks.
  • During each application, gently and thoroughly rub the cream into the skin.
  • Wash the hands following each application.
  • Discontinue use once the symptoms are under control.
  • Do not exceed a total dosage of 50 grams (g) per week.

How long should you use it?

According to the National Library of Medicine, a person can use clobetasol propionate cream for up to 2 weeks at a time. If the psoriasis is under control within a shorter period, they should stop using the product then.

The duration and frequency of use may vary among different forms of clobetasol propionate. A person should talk with their doctor about how to use their prescribed medication safely.

Clobetasol propionate and other potent corticosteroids are a common treatment for psoriasis. Research suggests that clobetasol propionate generally works well to clear or nearly clear psoriasis patches within 2–4 weeks.

In an older study, researchers found clobetasol propionate to be very effective in treating psoriasis. However, they note that a doctor should work with a person to determine their preferred application method and maximize the likelihood of adherence to the treatment regimen. Following the care routine according to the doctor’s advice should lead to a better outcome.

Clobetasol propionate has some associated risks and side effects, including:

Prolonged use of the product can also make the skin thinner or lead to the development of stretch marks.

Doctors do not recommend some forms of clobetasol propionate for children under 18 years of age.

A person should talk with a doctor if they notice any unusual symptoms after using the medication.

Several other creams, ointments, and lotions have a similar degree of potency to clobetasol propionate. The National Psoriasis Foundation notes that some clobetasol propionate alternatives include the topical forms of:

  • halobetasol propionate (Ultravate, Lexette)
  • flurandrenolide (Cordran tape)
  • betamethasone diproprionate (Diprolene)
  • diflorasone diacetate (Psorcon)
  • fluocinonide (Lidex)
  • desoximetasone (Topicort)

A doctor may choose to start with a medium potency steroid to check for effectiveness and side effects before moving to a higher potency one if necessary and safe. People who do not tolerate or need a strong formula can use a lower potency one.

A person should speak with a doctor about other options if clobetasol propionate or similar medications are not a good fit for them.

Clobetasol propionate is a potent topical steroid that doctors use to treat psoriasis. It is available as a cream, foam, or shampoo, among other forms.

Clobetasol propionate is available only with a prescription, and a person should use it according to the doctor’s instructions. With correct use, it can help improve symptoms within a few weeks.

However, prolonged or excessive use can potentially cause other health concerns. A person should contact a doctor if they find that using clobetasol propionate is causing adverse reactions. A doctor should be able to recommend another medication or treatment to use in its place.