Temovate vs Temovate E Steroid Creams: 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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Temovate (clobetasol) and Temovate E (clobetasol emollient) are strong steroid creams indicated for the relief of inflammation and itching associated with certain skin disorders. They have the same active ingredient, but they are not the same medication. The main difference? Temovate E is an emollient cream.

When are steroid creams used?

Steroid creams like Temovate and Temovate E are used in response to a flare-up that has already occurred.

What is an emollient?

An emollient is a preparation that softens or soothes the skin. Emollients help your skin feel more comfortable and less itchy.

Why use an emollient?

An emollient, unlike a steroid alone, can be used to prevent a flare-up from actually occurring.

Emollients prevent flare-ups by decreasing water loss from the skin and directly adding water to the dry outer layers of the skin. This protective film over the skin not only keeps moisture in, but also keeps out potential irritants.

What are the advantages of Temovate E cream?

The first advantage of using Temovate E over Temovate is the side effect profile. Temovate E combines the steroid medication with an emollient that helps hydrate and soothe your skin, which is important for skin disorders like eczema. Temovate E can cut down on the itchy, dry sensation that can come with these skin conditions.

The second advantage is cost-effectiveness. That hydration and soothing can also help reduce the need to use the steroid medication at all. That means you’ll most likely use Temovate E for a shorter duration compared to regular Temovate cream.

What are the disadvantages?

Although you may use less Temovate E, it may be more expensive—up to twice as much for the same size tube if you’re paying out of pocket. However, you should still be able to fine generic clobetasol emollient for under $20 with a discount for the smallest size 15 g tube of cream.

Can Temovate and Temovate E by substituted by my pharmacist?

No. These medications are not considered the same and cannot be interchanged without getting the okay from your prescriber.

What is the max duration of treatment and dosage for Temovate and Temovate E creams?
Temovate and Temovate E creams are both super-high potency topical steroids that should be limited to 2 consecutive weeks of treatment and a maximum of 50 grams per week for most skin disorders.

Want more information?

Find prescribing and packaging information for regular Temovate here, and for Temovate E here.

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