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  • CLASSES

    Plain Topical Corticosteroids

    DEA CLASS

    Rx

    DESCRIPTION

    Very high potency, topical fluorinated corticosteroid.

    COMMON BRAND NAMES

    Ultravate

    HOW SUPPLIED

    Halobetasol Propionate/Ultravate Topical Cream: 0.05%
    Halobetasol Propionate/Ultravate Topical Ointment: 0.05%
    Ultravate Topical Lotion: 0.05%

    DOSAGE & INDICATIONS

    For the treatment of moderate to severe corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses, like alopecia areata, atopic dermatitis, severe contact dermatitis, or severe Rhus dermatitis due to plants like poison ivy, discoid lupus erythematosus, cutaneous lichen planus, lichen simplex chronicus, severe lichen striatus, and severe eczema (including severe hyperkeratotic eczema, severe nummular eczema, and severe eczematous conditions of the hands or feet), generalized exfoliative dermatitis, granuloma annulare, keloids, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, pompholyx (dyshidrosis), nodular prurigo, pemphigus, pityriasis rosea, severe pruritus, or urticaria.
    Topical dosage (cream or ointment)
    Adults

    Apply a thin layer of cream or ointment to the affected skin area(s) once or twice daily; rub in gently and completely. Max: 50 grams/week total; do not use for longer than 2 weeks. As with other corticosteroids, therapy should be discontinued when control is achieved. If no improvement is seen within 2 weeks, consider reassessment of the diagnosis. Do not use with occlusive dressings.

    Children† and Adolescents† 5 years and older

    Safety and efficacy have not been established in pediatric patients and the manufacturer does not recommend use in those less than 12 years. Max: 50 grams/week total; do not use for longer than 2 weeks; do not use with occlusive dressings. However, halobetasol has been used short-term for selected conditions, such as localized eczema/atopic dermatitis. In a pediatric study (age 5 to 15 years), halobetasol cream was applied in a thin layer to the affected area(s) once daily in the morning, and halobetasol ointment was applied in a thin layer once daily in the evening for 14 days. Occlusion was not used. Success was documented in more than 90% with no systemic adverse events.

    For the treatment of moderate to severe chronic plaque-type psoriasis.
    Topical dosage (cream or ointment)
    Adults

    Apply a thin layer of cream or ointment to the affected skin area(s) once or twice daily; rub in gently and completely. Max: 50 grams/week total; do not use for longer than 2 weeks. As with other corticosteroids, therapy should be discontinued when control is achieved. If no improvement is seen within 2 weeks, consider reassessment of the diagnosis. Do not use with occlusive dressings.

    Children† and Adolescents† 5 years and older

    Safety and efficacy have not been established in pediatric patients and the manufacturer does not recommend use in those less than 12 years. Max: 50 grams/week total; do not use for longer than 2 weeks; do not use with occlusive dressings. However, halobetasol has been used short-term for selected conditions, such as localized plaque psoriasis. In a pediatric study (age 5 to 15 years), halobetasol cream was applied in a thin layer to the affected area(s) once daily in the morning, and halobetasol ointment was applied in a thin layer once daily in the evening for 14 days. Occlusion was not used. Success was documented in more than 90% with no systemic adverse events.

    Topical dosage (lotion)
    Adults

    Apply a thin layer to the affected skin area(s) twice daily for up to 2 weeks. If control is achieved before 2 weeks, treatment may be discontinued early.

    For the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL)† (also known as mycosis fungoides†).
    Topical dosage (cream or ointment)
    Adults and Adolescents 14 years and older

    Apply thoroughly and vigorously only to the lesioned skin areas twice daily. One study (n = 79) demonstrated complete remission in 88% of patients (age 14 to 84 years) with patch-stage mycosis fungoides treated with corticosteroids. Treatment was continued of 2 to 3 months before determining efficacy, and was continued for 1 month following clearing. The very high potency compounds studied, including halobetasol, were most effective. Thirteen percent of patients experienced reversible serum cortisol depression, but none had clinical symptoms. One patient discontinued therapy due to skin atrophy.

    †Indicates off-label use

    MAXIMUM DOSAGE

    Adults

    50 g/week topically; no > 2 weeks per treatment.

    Elderly

    50 g/week topically; no > 2 weeks per treatment.

    Adolescents

    50 g/week topically; no > 2 weeks per treatment.

    Children

    No maximum dosage information is available.

    DOSING CONSIDERATIONS

    Hepatic Impairment

    Specific guidelines for dosage adjustments in hepatic impairment are not available; it appears that no dosage adjustments are needed.

    Renal Impairment

    Specific guidelines for dosage adjustments in renal impairment are not available; it appears that no dosage adjustments are needed.

    ADMINISTRATION

    Topical Administration

    NOTE: Best results are obtained when topical corticosteroids of adequate strength are used for specified lengths of time. With halobetasol, if no improvement is seen within 2 weeks, reassessment of diagnosis may be necessary. Once control of the treated condition has been achieved, halobetasol treatment should be discontinued. Intermittent application of halobetasol may be needed to maintain remission or control of the treated condition. Some authorities recommend cyclic applications (i.e., 2 weeks of halobetasol treatment followed by 1 week of lubrication only) for chronic conditions like psoriasis. The lowest effective maintenance application should be used. Other options include changing to a less potent topical corticosteroid for maintenance and control of inflammation and symptoms.

    Cream/Ointment/Lotion Formulations

    For topical dermatologic use only. Not for ophthalmic, oral, or intravaginal use. Halobetasol is not recommended for use on the face, scalp, groin, or in the axillae.
    Restrict application to the active lesions or affected areas and try to avoid normal surrounding skin.
    The amount of cream or ointment needed to cover a certain area can be calculated. A 1 g application of cream covers 100 cm2 of skin. The entire skin surface of the average size adult will be covered by 30 g of topical steroid cream.
    Halobetasol preparations should not be used with occlusive dressings. Instruct patients not to bandage, cover, or wrap area in any way that may be occlusive.
    Very high potency corticosteroids such as halobetasol are not recommended for use in the diaper area of infants. If halobetasol is medically necessary, do not use tight fitting diapers or plastic pants on children, as these garments may constitute occlusive dressings.
    Wash hands before and after application. Use gloves if required by universal precautions. Apply sparingly in a thin film and rub gently into affected area.

    STORAGE

    Ultravate:
    - Protect from freezing
    - Store at 77 degrees F; excursions permitted to 59-86 degrees F

    CONTRAINDICATIONS / PRECAUTIONS

    Corticosteroid hypersensitivity, occlusive dressing

    Halobetasol is contraindicated in any patient with a history of hypersensitivity to any ingredients in the preparation; use with caution in patients with a history of severe corticosteroid hypersensitivity reactions to other corticosteroids. Halobetasol should not be used with an occlusive dressing.

    Cushing's syndrome, diabetes mellitus, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) suppression, skin abrasion

    Systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids has produced reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) suppression, manifestations of Cushing's syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria in some patients. Conditions which increase systemic absorption include application of very high-potency corticosteroids (such as halobetasol), use over large surface areas, prolonged use, use in areas where the epidermal barrier is disrupted (i.e., skin abrasion), and the use of an occlusive dressing. Patients receiving large doses of a potent topical corticosteroid applied to a large surface area or under an occlusive dressing should be evaluated periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression using ACTH stimulation, AM plasma cortisol and urinary free-cortisol tests. If HPA axis suppression is noted, an attempt should be made to withdraw the drug, to reduce the frequency of application, or to substitute a less potent corticosteroid. HPA axis suppression has been reported in psoriasis patients using a daily dose of 7 g of halobetasol for one week. In one study, 5 out of 20 (25%) adults receiving treatment with halobetasol lotion (mean dose of 3.5 grams applied twice daily for 2 weeks) developed HPA axis suppression. In this study, suppression was defined as serum cortisol concentration less than or equal to 18 mcg/dL, read 30 minutes after stimulation with cosyntropin. Recovery of HPA axis function is generally prompt and complete upon discontinuation of the topical corticosteroid. Infrequently, signs and symptoms of corticosteroid withdrawal may occur, requiring supplemental systemic corticosteroids. Due to the potential for glucose alterations, halobetasol should be used cautiously in patients with diabetes mellitus.

    Children, growth inhibition, increased intracranial pressure, infants, neonates

    Administration of halobetasol to pediatric patients 12 years and older should be limited to the least amount compatible with an effective therapeutic regimen. The safety and efficacy of halobetasol in neonates, infants, and children less than 12 years of age have not been established and use is not recommended in these populations. Children may absorb proportionally larger amounts of topical corticosteroids due to a larger skin surface area to body weight ratio, and therefore are more susceptible to developing systemic toxicity, especially with very-high-potency products. Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression, Cushing's syndrome, growth inhibition (linear growth retardation and delayed weight gain), and increased intracranial pressure have been reported in children receiving topical corticosteroids. If children are being treated with topical corticosteroids in the diaper area, tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants should be avoided as these garments may act as an occlusive dressing and increase systemic absorption of the drug.

    Pregnancy

    Halobetasol is classified in FDA pregnancy risk category C. Corticosteroids have been shown to be teratogenic after dermal, oral, and subcutaneous administration in laboratory animals. Hypoadrenalism may occur in infants born to women receiving corticosteroids during pregnancy. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of teratogenic effects from topical application of halobetasol in pregnant women. Halobetasol has greater potency, and thus greater teratogenic potential, than other less potent topical corticosteroids. It may be prudent to consider using a lower potency topical corticosteroid during pregnancy. According to the manufacturer, halobetasol should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Topical corticosteroids, including halobetasol, should not be used in large amounts, on large areas, or for prolonged periods of time in pregnant women.

    Breast-feeding

    It is not known whether topical administration of halobetasol could result in sufficient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in breast milk. When used in low doses, systemically administered corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) are distributed into breast milk in quantities not likely to have a deleterious effect on the infant. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considers prednisone to be usually compatible with lactation. Topical corticosteroids should not be applied to the nipples during nursing. Consider the benefits of breast-feeding, the risk of potential infant drug exposure, and the risk of an untreated or inadequately treated condition. If a breast-feeding infant experiences an adverse effect related to a maternally ingested drug, healthcare providers are encouraged to report the adverse effect to the FDA.

    Fungal infection, herpes infection, infection, measles, tuberculosis, varicella, viral infection

    The normal inflammatory response to local infections can be masked by halobetasol. Application of topical corticosteroids to areas of infection, including tuberculosis of the skin, dermatologic fungal infection, and cutaneous or systemic viral infection (i.e., measles or varicella), should be initiated or continued only if the appropriate antiinfective treatment is instituted. Herpes infection may be transmitted to other sites, including the eye. If the infection does not respond to the antimicrobial therapy, the concurrent use of the topical corticosteroid should be discontinued until the infection is controlled. Topical corticosteroids may delay the healing of non-infected wounds, such as venous stasis ulcers.

    Acne rosacea, acne vulgaris, cataracts, glaucoma, ocular exposure, ophthalmic administration, perioral dermatitis

    As with other potent fluorinated topical corticosteroids, halobetasol should not be used to treat acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, or perioral dermatitis. Halobetasol may aggravate these conditions. Halobetasol preparations should not be applied to the face, groin, or axillae. Care should be taken to avoid use around the eyes; ophthalmic administration should be avoided. Visual impairment and ocular hypertension have been reported with ocular exposure to other high potency topical corticosteroids. High potency corticosteroids have been noted to promote progression of cataracts. Preexisting glaucoma may be aggravated if halobetasol is used in the periorbital area.

    Geriatric, peripheral vascular disease, skin atrophy

    Topical corticosteroids, including halobetasol, should be used for brief periods or under close medical supervision in patients with evidence of pre-existing skin atrophy. Geriatric patients may be more likely to have preexisting skin atrophy secondary to aging. Purpura and skin lacerations that may raise the skin and subcutaneous tissue from deep fascia may be more likely to occur with the use of topical corticosteroids in geriatric patients. Use halobetasol preparations cautiously in patients with markedly impaired circulation or peripheral vascular disease due to the potential for skin ulcer. Use of lower potency topical corticosteroids also may be necessary in some patients.

    ADVERSE REACTIONS

    Severe

    skin atrophy / Delayed / Incidence not known
    papilledema / Delayed / Incidence not known
    increased intracranial pressure / Early / Incidence not known
    ocular hypertension / Delayed / Incidence not known
    visual impairment / Early / Incidence not known

    Moderate

    erythema / Early / 1.0-10.0
    withdrawal / Early / Incidence not known
    pseudotumor cerebri / Delayed / Incidence not known
    growth inhibition / Delayed / Incidence not known
    Cushing's syndrome / Delayed / Incidence not known
    hypertension / Early / Incidence not known
    hyperglycemia / Delayed / Incidence not known
    hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) suppression / Delayed / Incidence not known
    adrenocortical insufficiency / Delayed / Incidence not known
    glycosuria / Early / Incidence not known
    cataracts / Delayed / Incidence not known
    impaired wound healing / Delayed / Incidence not known
    skin ulcer / Delayed / Incidence not known
    tolerance / Delayed / Incidence not known
    contact dermatitis / Delayed / Incidence not known

    Mild

    maculopapular rash / Early / 1.0-10.0
    xerosis / Delayed / 1.0-10.0
    pruritus / Rapid / 1.0-10.0
    skin irritation / Early / 1.6-4.4
    influenza / Delayed / 0.1-1.0
    pharyngitis / Delayed / 0.1-1.0
    infection / Delayed / Incidence not known
    telangiectasia / Delayed / Incidence not known
    acneiform rash / Delayed / Incidence not known
    purpura / Delayed / Incidence not known
    miliaria / Delayed / Incidence not known
    hypertrichosis / Delayed / Incidence not known
    skin hypopigmentation / Delayed / Incidence not known
    striae / Delayed / Incidence not known
    folliculitis / Delayed / Incidence not known
    headache / Early / Incidence not known

    DRUG INTERACTIONS

    There are no drug interactions associated with Halobetasol products.

    PREGNANCY AND LACTATION

    Pregnancy

    Halobetasol is classified in FDA pregnancy risk category C. Corticosteroids have been shown to be teratogenic after dermal, oral, and subcutaneous administration in laboratory animals. Hypoadrenalism may occur in infants born to women receiving corticosteroids during pregnancy. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of teratogenic effects from topical application of halobetasol in pregnant women. Halobetasol has greater potency, and thus greater teratogenic potential, than other less potent topical corticosteroids. It may be prudent to consider using a lower potency topical corticosteroid during pregnancy. According to the manufacturer, halobetasol should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Topical corticosteroids, including halobetasol, should not be used in large amounts, on large areas, or for prolonged periods of time in pregnant women.

    It is not known whether topical administration of halobetasol could result in sufficient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in breast milk. When used in low doses, systemically administered corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) are distributed into breast milk in quantities not likely to have a deleterious effect on the infant. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) considers prednisone to be usually compatible with lactation. Topical corticosteroids should not be applied to the nipples during nursing. Consider the benefits of breast-feeding, the risk of potential infant drug exposure, and the risk of an untreated or inadequately treated condition. If a breast-feeding infant experiences an adverse effect related to a maternally ingested drug, healthcare providers are encouraged to report the adverse effect to the FDA.

    MECHANISM OF ACTION

    Topical corticosteroids exhibit anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, and vasoconstrictive properties. At the cellular level, corticosteroids induce peptides called lipocortins. Lipocortins antagonize phospholipase A2, an enzyme which causes the breakdown of leukocyte lysosomal membranes to release arachidonic acid. This action decreases the subsequent formation and release of endogenous inflammatory mediators including prostaglandins, kinins, histamine, liposomal enzymes and the complement system. Early anti-inflammatory effects of topical corticosteroids include the inhibition of macrophage and leukocyte movement and activity in the inflamed area by reversing vascular dilation and permeability. Later inflammatory processes such as capillary production, collagen deposition, keloid (scar) formation also are inhibited by corticosteroids. Clinically, these actions correspond to decreased edema, erythema, pruritus, plaque formation and scaling of the affected skin.

    PHARMACOKINETICS

    Halobetasol is administered topically to the skin as a cream, ointment, or lotion. Once in the systemic circulation, halobetasol is metabolized in the liver, but systemic metabolism has not been fully quantified. Excretion of halobetasol and its metabolites occurs via the urine and bile.

    Topical Route

    The extent of percutaneous absorption of the topical corticosteroids is dependent on many factors, including the vehicle, integrity of the epidermis, and use of occlusive dressing. Roughly 2 to 3% of halobetasol enters systemic circulation within 96 hours of topical administration. Absorption after topical application of halobetasol is increased in areas that have skin damage, inflammation, or occlusion, or in areas where the stratum corneum is thin such as the eyelids, genitalia, axillae, and face. The use of occlusive dressings with the application of halobetasol enhances penetration into the skin, and may increase the chance of systemic absorption. Ointments have a hydrating effect, are lipophilic, and enhance the penetration of halobetasol into the skin. Based on data obtained from 12 adult administered halobetasol lotion, the drug was detectable in the plasma in all study subjects, and steady-state concentrations were achieved by treatment day 8. The median time to reach maximum concentration (Tmax) is 3 hours (range, 0 to 6 hours). Anti-inflammatory effects are usually not seen for hours after halobetasol application, since the mechanism of action requires alterations in synthesis of proteins. Because halobetasol is fluorinated and also contains a substituted 17-hydroxyl group, it is not metabolized in the skin. Repeated application results in a cumulative depot effect in the skin, which may lead to a prolonged duration of action and increased systemic absorption.