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What Is Desonide?

By Christina Whyte
Updated May 17, 2024
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Desonide is a topical corticosteroid which is used to treat the itching, inflammation, and pain that is caused by skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It works by decreasing the amount of natural chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. While it is generally a safe medication, there are some precautions that need to be taken and side effects that may occur when using desonide.

It is important to follow the directions exactly when using desonide, because overuse or inappropriate use can lead to absorption of corticosteroids into the body through the skin. This medication should be applied in a thin, even film over the affected area at the times and intervals recommended by a doctor, usually two or three times per day at the same times every day. The area should not be covered after application unless so instructed by a medical professional, and patients should ensure that desonide does not get into the eyes, nose, or mouth. If the skin condition does not improve in two weeks, the patient should speak to a doctor.

Side effects of desonide most commonly include temporary stinging or burning, peeling skin, dryness, and redness. Signs of a rare but more serious reaction include changes in vision or mood, problems sleeping, weight gain or puffiness in the face, fatigue or weakness, thinning of the skin, blisters, pus, or other signs of infection. Allergic reactions are also possible, indicated by trouble breathing, hives, and swelling. If experiencing any of these serious signs or any persistent, severe, or concerning side effects, patients should seek medical attention.

Corticosteroids should only be used for the skin condition for which they were prescribed, and not more than instructed. It should not be used for other rashes or inflammation, or share with other people, even if the skin conditions look similar. Doctor supervision is particularly important when using this medication on children and the elderly because these people are more likely to absorb a larger dose of the medication and experience adverse side effects.

The prescribing doctor or pharmacist needs to know about all other medications taken, including prescription medication, over the counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements, especially medications that suppress the immune system. Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing a baby should speak to their doctors about this, since it is not known whether desonide could harm an unborn or nursing baby. People with diabetes, circulatory disorders, or medical conditions that suppress the immune system should discuss this with their doctors before using desonide.

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