Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.
Effects On Endocrine System
DIPROLENE Ointment can produce reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression with the potential for glucocorticosteroid insufficiency. This may occur during treatment or after withdrawal of treatment. Factors that predispose to HPA axis suppression include the use of high-potency steroids, large treatment surface areas, prolonged use, use of occlusive dressings, altered skin barrier, liver failure, and young age. Evaluation for HPA axis suppression may be done by using the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) stimulation test.
In a trial evaluating the effects of DIPROLENE Ointment on the HPA axis, at 14 g per day, DIPROLENE Ointment was shown to suppress the plasma levels of adrenal cortical hormones following repeated application to diseased skin in subjects with psoriasis. These effects were reversible upon discontinuation of treatment. At 7 g per day, DIPROLENE Ointment was shown to cause minimal inhibition of the HPA axis when applied 2 times daily for 2 to 3 weeks in healthy subjects and in subjects with psoriasis and eczematous disorders.
With 6 g to 7 g of DIPROLENE Ointment applied once daily for 3 weeks, no significant inhibition of the HPA axis was observed in subjects with psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, as measured by plasma cortisol and 24-hour urinary 17-hydroxy-corticosteroid levels.
If HPA axis suppression is documented, gradually withdraw the drug, reduce the frequency of application, or substitute with a less potent corticosteroid. Infrequently, signs and symptoms of steroid withdrawal may occur, requiring supplemental systemic corticosteroids.
Cushing's syndrome and hyperglycemia may also occur with topical corticosteroids. These events are rare and generally occur after prolonged exposure to excessively large doses, especially of high-potency topical corticosteroids.
Pediatric patients may be more susceptible to systemic toxicity due to their larger skin surface to body mass ratios [see Use In Specific Populations].
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis with corticosteroids is usually diagnosed by observing failure to heal rather than noting a clinical exacerbation. Such an observation should be corroborated with appropriate diagnostic patch testing. If irritation develops, topical corticosteroids should be discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Long-term animal studies have not been performed to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of betamethasone dipropionate.
Betamethasone was negative in the bacterial mutagenicity assay (Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli), and in the mammalian cell mutagenicity assay (CHO/HGPRT). It was positive in the in vitro human lymphocyte chromosome aberration assay, and equivocal in the in vivo mouse bone marrow micronucleus assay.
Studies in rabbits, mice, and rats using intramuscular doses up to 1, 33, and 2 mg/kg, respectively, resulted in dose-related increases in fetal resorptions in rabbits and mice.
Use In Specific Populations
Teratogenic Effects - Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. DIPROLENE Ointment should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Betamethasone dipropionate has been shown to be teratogenic in rabbits when given by the intramuscular route at doses of 0.05 mg/kg. The abnormalities observed included umbilical hernias, cephalocele, and cleft palate.
Systemically administered corticosteroids appear in human milk and can suppress growth, interfere with endogenous corticosteroid production, or cause other untoward effects. It is not known whether topical administration of corticosteroids can result in sufficient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when DIPROLENE Ointment is administered to a nursing woman.
Use of DIPROLENE Ointment in pediatric patients younger than 13 years of age is not recommended due to the potential for HPA axis suppression [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
In an open-label HPA axis safety trial in subjects 3 months to 12 years of age with atopic dermatitis, DIPROLENE AF Cream 0.05% was applied twice daily for 2 to 3 weeks over a mean body surface area of 58% (range 35% to 95%). In 19 of 60 (32%) evaluable subjects, adrenal suppression was indicated by either a ≥ 5 mcg/dL pre-stimulation cortisol, or a cosyntropin post-stimulation cortisol ≥ 18 mcg/dL and/or an increase of < 7 mcg/dL from the baseline cortisol. Out of the 19 subjects with HPA axis suppression, 4 subjects were tested 2 weeks after discontinuation of DIPROLENE AF Cream, and 3 of the 4 (75%) had complete recovery of HPA axis function. The proportion of subjects with adrenal suppression in this trial was progressively greater, the younger the age group.
Because of a higher ratio of skin surface area to body mass, pediatric patients are at a greater risk than adults of systemic toxicity when treated with topical drugs. They are, therefore, also at greater risk of HPA axis suppression and adrenal insufficiency upon the use of topical corticosteroids.
Rare systemic effects such as Cushing's syndrome, linear growth retardation, delayed weight gain, and intracranial hypertension have been reported in pediatric patients, especially those with prolonged exposure to large doses of high potency topical corticosteroids.
Local adverse reactions including skin atrophy have also been reported with use of topical corticosteroids in pediatric patients.
Avoid use of DIPROLENE Ointment in the treatment of diaper dermatitis.
Clinical trials of DIPROLENE Ointment included 225 subjects who were 65 years of age and over and 46 subjects who were 75 years of age and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. However, greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/27/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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