Duobrii (Halobetasol and Tazarotene) – Topical

What Is Duobrii?

Duobrii (halobetasol and tazarotene) is a prescription lotion used to treat a chronic skin condition called plaque psoriasis in adults.

Duobrii contains two active ingredients from two different classes of drugs: halobetasol propionate 0.01% (a corticosteroid) and tazarotene 0.045% (a retinoid). These ingredients help decrease inflammation in your skin’s layers to control plaque psoriasis symptoms.

Duobrii comes in a white aluminum tube containing the lotion, which is to be applied topically (on the skin).

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Halobetasol and tazarotene

Brand Name: Duobrii

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Topical

Therapeutic Classification: Corticosteroid

Available Generically: No

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Halobetasol propionate and tazarotene

Dosage Form: Lotion

What Is Duobrii Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Duobrii to treat plaque psoriasis in adults.

With plaque psoriasis, a rapid overproduction of skin cells leads to the formation of plaques—patches of dry, scaly, itchy skin. Plaques typically occur on the scalp, knees, and elbows but can also appear on the nails, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or anywhere on the skin. In some people, plaques only occur in a few spots on the body. However, they can cover a large percentage of the body in more severe cases. Depending on skin tone, plaques may look red, purple, brown, gray, or silvery.

Plaque symptoms usually wax and wane over time. Symptoms tend to get worse or “flare” in response to certain triggers (like stress or scratching the skin), then clear up or “go into remission” for a while. Healthcare providers may suggest several strategies for managing this condition, including avoiding triggers and using topical treatments, such as Duobrii.

Duobrii is typically prescribed once daily during flares only or as directed by your healthcare provider.

Duobrii (Halobetasol and Tazarotene) Drug Information - A shirtless person with their back showing plaque psoriasis (back of arms and back)

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Use Duobrii

Duobrii comes as a lotion that’s applied to the skin. Make sure to only apply the lotion to areas of your skin affected by plaques. Duobrii should not be used on skin that is affected by eczema.

If you bathe before applying Duobrii, the skin should be dry before applying the lotion.

When applying the lotion:

  • Apply a thin layer to the affected areas of your skin and rub it in gently. 
  • Only use enough lotion to cover the plaque areas of your skin and rub it in. 
  • Duobrii is not meant for use on the face, groin, or underarms. It is for external use only. Avoid getting the lotion in the mouth, eyes, or vagina.

After applying the lotion, do not place a bandage or dressing over the application sites. Doing so may make the medication absorb into your skin more than it should and increase the risk of side effects.

Duobrii will make you more sensitive to sunlight. Avoid sunbathing and tanning beds during your treatment with Duobrii lotion. If you become sunburned, wait until your skin heals before using Duobrii again.

You should not use more than 50 grams of Duobrii lotion per week.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.

Storage

Duobrii is a lotion that comes in a tube. Store Duobrii at room temperature, about 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not keep it where it can freeze.

How Long Does Duobrii Take to Work?

In clinical trials, more people treated with Duobrii lotion achieved improved or clear skin in eight weeks than people who received a placebo or other therapies.

What Are the Side Effects of Duobrii?

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 healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Overall, clinical trial results did not report many common side effects with Duobrii use. The most frequent side effect was skin irritation, occurring in 7% of people.

Other side effects may include:

  • Skin itching or redness 
  • Burning, stinging, or pain at application sites
  • Folliculitis (inflamed hair follicles)
  • Skin thinning
  • Rash
  • Peeling
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight

These side effects are usually temporary and mild. Talk to your healthcare provider if these side effects become bothersome. They may advise you to stop using Duobrii or use it less frequently until these symptoms subside.

Severe Side Effects

Rarely serious side effects can occur while using Duobrii. If you notice the symptoms described below, do not wait to see if they go away. Tell your healthcare provider right away, or seek emergency medical care if your symptoms feel life-threatening.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar): Symptoms include excessive thirst, increased hunger, frequent urination, blurry vision, and fatigue.
  • Adrenal gland problems, such as Cushing’s syndrome (a disorder that occurs when your adrenal glands produce too much cortisol): Symptoms can include anxiety, mood changes, high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, weight gain, and rounded face
  • Vision problems such as cataracts and glaucoma, which can include blurred vision or other changes in your sight
  • Allergic reaction

Report Side Effects

Duobrii 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 Duobrii Should I Use?

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 topical dosage form (lotion):
    • For plaque psoriasis:
      • Adults—Apply to the affected area of the skin once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss an application of Duobrii, just apply it the next day at your usual time. You should only use a thin layer of lotion to cover the plaque areas on your skin, then rub in gently. You should not apply extra Duobrii lotion to make up for a missed application.

Overdose: What Happens If I Use Too Much Duobrii?

You should not use more than 50 grams of Duobrii lotion per week.

If you use too much Duobrii, the active ingredients may absorb into your skin more than they should. This can increase the risk of the serious side effects listed above, mainly if the lotion is used too often on large areas and if the application sites are covered with a bandage or dressing.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

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

Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.

To make sure you are not pregnant when you start using this medicine, you may need to start using it during a normal menstrual period. Also, you must have a negative pregnancy test within 2 weeks before you start using this medicine.

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 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.

Avoid exposing your skin to wind, cold weather, and sunlight, even on cloudy days. Your skin will be more prone to sunburn, dryness, or irritation. Do not use a sunlamp or tanning bed. Use a sunscreen or sunblock lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 on a regular basis. Wear protective clothing and hats and stay out of direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It is likely that your skin may become irritated with normal use of this medicine. You should not stop using tazarotene unless your skin becomes too red, dry, puffy, or otherwise irritated. If severe irritation occurs, contact your doctor.

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).

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Duobrii?

You should not use Duobrii if:

  • You are pregnant. If you can become pregnant, your healthcare provider will likely have you take a pregnancy test before starting Duobrii. It is important to use an effective form of birth control while using this treatment as one of its ingredients, tazarotene, is known to cause birth defects.
  • You have had an allergic reaction to one of its ingredients, such as halobetasol propionate or tazarotene.

What Other Medications Interact With Duobrii?

Taking certain medications or using certain topical products while using Duobrii lotion may cause interactions. These interactions can increase the risk of side effects. Before using Duobrii, tell your healthcare provider about your current medications, skincare products, vitamins, and herbal supplements. They can advise you on how to manage these interactions if possible.

Using Duobrii with medications that cause photosensitivity (sensitivity to ultraviolet rays and light) can further increase sensitivity to sunlight. A few examples include:

  • Several antibiotics, such as doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, and “sulfa” drugs (sulfonamides) like sulfamethoxazole
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen) and Naprosyn or Aleve (naproxen)
  • Pacerone (amiodarone), a heart medication

Duobrii can also interact with drying topicals (medications in skincare products that can make your skin too dry). Some examples include:

What Medications Are Similar?

Duobrii lotion contains a combination of two active drug ingredients: halobetasol propionate, a corticosteroid, and tazarotene, a retinoid. These ingredients in Duobrii are also available as two different topical medications.

Additionally, other topical medications are available to treat plaque psoriasis. Some, like Duobrii, contain a combination of ingredients. Others just have one ingredient.

Below is a list of drugs that may be prescribed instead of Duobrii to treat plaque psoriasis. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Duobrii. You should not use these medications together. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare practitioner if you have questions about which treatment options might be suitable for you, including:

  • Enstilar (calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate) foam
  • Taclonex (calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate) ointment
  • Wynzora (calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate) cream
  • Tazorac (tazarotene) cream or gel
  • Ultravate (halobetasol propionate) lotion
  • Bryhali (halobetasol propionate) lotion

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Duobrii lotion a cure for plaque psoriasis?

    No, Duobrii isn’t a cure for plaque psoriasis. There is currently no cure for plaque psoriasis. In clinical studies, treatment with Duobrii (a combination product) demonstrated higher effectiveness than placebo or other therapies. More people achieved improved or clear skin with Duobrii use in eight weeks of treatment.

  • Is it OK to use moisturizer while using Duobrii?

    You may use a nonmedicated skin cream or lotion to moisturize your skin while using Duobrii. Just make sure to apply moisturizer at least one hour before or after applying Duobrii lotion.

  • What should I do if I get a skin infection while using Duobrii?

    Tell your healthcare provider right away if you think you have a skin infection. Symptoms may include irritated, broken, red or discolored, swollen, or oozing areas of your skin. You may need to stop using Duobrii until the infection clears, and you might receive medication to treat the infection.

  • Can I use Duobrii lotion if I have other skin problems like eczema?

    Duobrii lotion is used to treat plaque psoriasis. If you have other skin problems, such as eczema, tell your healthcare provider before starting Duobrii. Applying Duobrii lotion to areas of your skin affected by eczema could make your skin even more irritated.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Using Duobrii?

Living with plaque psoriasis can be challenging at times. When the symptoms of psoriasis flare-up, you may feel hesitant to go out in public or wear short-sleeved shirts.

Fortunately, effective treatments are available to help you find some relief. A dermatologist or other healthcare provider can help you find the right treatment plan for your plaque psoriasis. A complete treatment plan for psoriasis involves multiple strategies, including skin care routines, avoiding triggers like stress, light therapy, and medications.

When used as prescribed for plaque psoriasis, Duobrii lotion can significantly improve the appearance of your skin. It may help your skin to become clear and stay clear for up to three months. Of course, individual results can vary, and moderate to severe cases of plaque psoriasis may require additional types of treatment.

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.

3 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.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Duobrii label.

  2. Ramachandran V, Bertus B, Bashyam AM, et al. Treating psoriasis with halobetasol propionate and tazarotene combination: A review of phase II and III clinical trials. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/1060028020910439

  3. Lugović-Mihić L, Duvančić T, Ferček I, et al. Drug-induced photosensitivity - a continuing diagnostic challenge. Acta clinica Croatica. 2017;56(2):277–283. doi:10.20471/acc.2017.56.02.11

By Patricia Weiser, PharmD
Patricia Weiser, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist and freelance medical writer. She has more than 14 years of professional experience.