Clobex (Clobetasol) – Topical

What Is Clobex?

Clobex (clobetasol) is a prescription medication used to treat inflammation and itchiness related to skin or scalp conditions. It belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids.

While it is not known exactly how clobetasol works, researchers suggest that it blocks the release of certain chemicals, such as arachidonic acid. These chemicals become prostaglandins or leukotrienes, which can trigger inflammation, causing pain, swelling, or itching. By blocking those chemicals from being released, clobetasol can help reduce skin inflammation, pain, and itching.

Clobex is available topically to be applied to the skin or scalp in various formulations, such as shampoo, lotion, and spray, among others. Additional brand names for clobetasol include Cormax, Embeline, Embeline E, Impeklo, Impoyz, Olux, and Olux E. It is also available generically.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Clobetasol

Brand Name(s): Clobex, Cormax, Embeline, Embeline E, Impeklo, Impoyz, Olux, Olux E

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Topical

Therapeutic Classification: Corticosteroid

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Clobetasol propionate

Dosage Form(s): Shampoo, lotion, spray, gel, foam, cream, ointment

What Is Clobex Used For?

Clobetasol is often prescribed to treat moderate to severe psoriasis and skin inflammation or itchiness caused by dermatoses. "Dermatoses" is a general term describing a skin condition that causes itchiness or inflammation. Examples of dermatoses include eczema, plaque psoriasis, or certain other rashes.

How to Use Clobex

Clobetasol is available in several topical formulations. The brand name Clobex specifically comes in shampoo, lotion, or spray forms. Since how you apply it will depend on the formulation, always follow your healthcare provider's directions.

This medication is meant to be applied to the skin, usually twice daily. The shampoo formulation should only be used on the scalp, usually once a day.

Here are a few general tips for clobetasol use and administration:

  • Only apply to areas of the skin as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Do not apply clobetasol to thin skin.
  • Apply a small amount to cover the affected area of the skin and rub it gently.
  • Wash your hands after applying the medication.
  • Do not use it with other corticosteroid-containing products.
  • Do not apply other skin products to the treated area without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Do not cover, bandage, or wrap the treated skin area.
  • Products should not be applied to the face, groin, or armpits.

Similar to other corticosteroids, this treatment should not be used long term. Stop using clobetasol once symptom control has been achieved. Contact your healthcare provider if you haven't seen any improvement in symptoms within two weeks of starting.

Storage

Store your clobetasol at a controlled room temperature, which is about 68 to 77 degrees F.

How Long Does Clobex Take to Work?

Clobetasol absorption varies depending on the formulation and dosage used. Generally, you should start noticing an improvement in symptoms within two weeks after beginning a clobetasol product (and within four weeks for the shampoo).

What Are the Side Effects of Clobex?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Clobex are:

  • Acne
  • Burning or stinging skin
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Skin redness or discoloration
  • Widening of small blood vessels (vasodilation), making them more visible

Infections, such as nasopharyngitis (the common cold) and upper respiratory infections, may occur with the topical spray formulation.

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if these side effects persist or become more severe.

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and symptoms can include the following:

  • Severe allergic reactions: Symptoms may include trouble breathing, hives, and swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Skin thinning: Symptoms may include having your skin bruise or tear more easily or more visible veins.
  • Skin infection: Symptoms may include blistering, fever, areas with pus or fluids draining, swelling, or redness.
  • Cataracts and glaucoma: Symptoms may include blurred vision, eye pain, and loss of vision
  • Skin irritation
  • Hormonal effects such as adrenal insufficiency
  • Eye pain or irritation
  • Upper respiratory tract infection (only with Clobex spray)

Report Side Effects

Clobex may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much of Clobex Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For redness, itching, and swelling of the skin:
    • For topical dosage forms (cream, gel, or ointment):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day.
      • Children 12 to 17 years of age—Apply to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use is not recommended.
    • For topical dosage form (lotion):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.
  • For plaque psoriasis:
    • For topical dosage form (cream):
      • Impoyz™:
        • Adults—Apply to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day.
        • Children—Use is not recommended.
      • Temovate®:
        • Adults and children older than 16 years of age—Apply to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day.
        • Children younger than 16 years of age—Use is not recommended.
    • For topical dosage form (foam):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day, once in the morning and once at night.
      • Children 12 to 17 years of age—Apply to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day, once in the morning and once at night.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use is not recommended.
    • For topical dosage form (spray):
      • Adults—Spray directly to the affected area of the skin 2 times per day.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.
  • For scalp problems:
    • For topical dosage forms (foam or scalp solution):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected area of the scalp 2 times per day, once in the morning and once at night.
      • Children 12 to 17 years of age—Apply to the affected area of the scalp 2 times per day, once in the morning and once at night.
      • Children younger than 12 years of age—Use is not recommended.
    • For topical dosage form (shampoo):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected area of the scalp once a day.
      • Children—Use is not recommended.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Clobex, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it is almost time for the next scheduled dose, then skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule. Do not take extra to make up for the missed dose. Doing so can increase your risk for side effects.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Clobex?

Although applied topically, clobetasol can cause systemic effects (affecting the entire body) if too much is absorbed. This can cause reversible adrenal suppression, also known as hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression. Children are more susceptible to this. Clobetasol is not recommended for people under 18 years old.

What Happens If I Overdose on Clobex?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Clobex, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Clobex, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits for any unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine.

If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Using too much of this medicine or using it for a long time may increase your risk of having adrenal gland problems. The risk is greater for children and patients who use large amounts for a long time. Talk to your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms while you are using this medicine: blurred vision, dizziness or fainting, a fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat, increased thirst or urination, irritability, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty with reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want your eyes be checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have a skin rash, burning, stinging, swelling, or irritation on the skin.

Make sure your doctor knows that you are using clobetasol creamgel, or spray. You may need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery.

Do not use clobetasol together with other topical corticosteroid-containing medicines, such as betamethasone, hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, Cortaid®, or Lotrisone®. Using these medicines together may cause serious unwanted effects.

Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated areas.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Clobex?

There are a few reasons your healthcare provider may not choose Clobex as part of your treatment plan.

Allergy

You should not take clobetasol if you are allergic to the ingredients.

Pregnancy

It is not known if Clobex is safe to use during pregnancy. It is best to talk to your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant so they can decide the best option for you.

Breastfeeding

It isn’t known if Clobex passes into human milk, but it is possible it can cause serious harm to a breastfed child. Talk with a healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding to discuss the best plan for you.

Children

Clobetasol is not approved in children 18 years old and younger.

Other Health Conditions

In certain individuals, the body may handle clobetasol differently. A person should inform their healthcare provider if they have:

 What Other Medications Interact With Clobex?

Clobex is a corticosteroid. It is not recommended to use other corticosteroids while taking Clobex, as this could lead to an increased risk of side effects.

Examples of other corticosteroids include:

This list does not include all drugs that can interact with clobetasol. Before using clobetasol, share your use of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. This will help you avoid potential interactions.

What Medications Are Similar?

Clobex is a medication known as a corticosteroid and is often used to treat psoriasis and skin inflammation. Similar topical medications used to treat these conditions include:

  • Diprolene (betamethasone)
  • Enstilar (calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate)

Diprolene

Diprolene is a corticosteroid available in ointment form. It is often prescribed to treat inflammation or itching caused by skin conditions. The most common side effects are skin discoloration, dry or itchy skin, skin redness, and vasodilation.

Enstilar

Another corticosteroid, Enstilar contains two active ingredients: calcipotriene, a form of vitamin D, and betamethasone, a corticosteroid. Enstilar is often prescribed to treat plaque psoriasis. It is available as a topical foam. Common side effects include dry or itchy skin, acne, skin discoloration, skin redness, and vasodilation.

The above is a list of examples of medications used to treat psoriasis or skin inflammation. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Clobex. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Clobex used for?

    Clobex is part of a class of medications known as corticosteroids. It works by blocking chemicals in the body that can lead to inflammation, itching, and painful skin. Clobex is often used to treat moderate or severe psoriasis or skin inflammation caused by a skin condition.

  • What are the side effects of Clobex?

    The most common side effects are dry or itchy skin, burning or stinging skin, skin redness, or acne. Clobex also has the potential for serious side effects such as an allergic reaction, skin infections, or hormonal effects. Call your healthcare provider immediately if you are experiencing any severe side effects. Call 911 if you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms.

  • Can I use sunscreen if I’m applying Clobex to my skin?

    Yes, sunscreen can be safely used with Clobex and other topical medications. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider about applying sunscreen and Clobex to your skin.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Clobex?

Clobex is a safe and effective medication when used correctly. This drug is often used to treat moderate to severe psoriasis or skin inflammation caused by certain conditions such as eczema.

While Clobex does have the potential for serious side effects such as allergic reactions or skin infections, the most common side effects may be milder. Those tend to include skin redness, burning or stinging skin, or dry and itchy skin.

You can also try different supplementary therapies for the relief of skin-related eczema symptoms, such as routine moisturizing and a healthy skincare regimen. There are various eczema-friendly moisturizer options available. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the best skincare products for your condition.

Inform your healthcare provider about all health conditions and your use of prescription and OTC medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. This way, you and your healthcare provider can work together to make the best treatment decisions for you.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kaylea Swearingen, PharmD
Kaylea Swearingen is a registered pharmacist and health and wellness writer.