Betamethasone Augmented or Not—What’s the Difference?

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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Betamethasone dipropionate . . . and betamethasone dipropionate augmented. Those are pretty much the same medication, right? Not exactly—and there can be a lot of confusion around these two look-alike-sound-alike medications.

To start with—which is which?

Generic (regular) betamethasone dipropionate 0.05% is currently available in cream, ointment, and lotion forms. The brand name, Diprosone, has been discontinued, but it was also available in the same forms.

Generic augmented betamethasone dipropionate 0.05% is also available in cream, ointment, and lotion forms, along with a gel form. However, brand names Diprolene (ointment and lotion) and Diprolene AF (cream) are still available.

What is the advantage of using AUGMENTED betamethasone dipropionate?

When using augmented betamethasone dipropionate (or any augmented product), the steroid penetrates the skin faster, making it more potent than (regular) betamethasone dipropionate, even though they have the same “strength” 0.05%.

What type of steroid is AUGMENTED betamethasone dipropionate?

Topical corticosteroids are categorized into seven groups based on their potency. Group I is ultra high potency, down to group VII which is low potency.

Augmented betamethasone dipropionate lotion, ointment, and gel are in Group I (very high potency), while augmented betamethasone dipropionate cream (Diprolene AF) is in Group II (high potency).

What type of steroid is (regular) betamethasone dipropionate?

(Regular) betamethasone dipropionate cream and lotion are in Group III (medium potency), while (regular) betamethasone dipropionate ointment is in the same group as the augmented cream—Group II.

Why might you want to use a less potent medication—isn’t stronger better?

Medium potency steroids like bethamethasone dipropionate cream and lotion can be better if you need to treat a large area of your body—you’re less likely to have negative side effects.

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