Desonide is used to treat the redness, swelling, itching, and discomfort of various skin conditions. Desonide is in a class of medications called topical corticosteroids. It works by activating natural substances in the skin to reduce swelling, redness, and itching.
Desonide comes as a cream, an ointment, and a lotion to apply to the skin. It is usually applied 2 or 3 times a day. Apply it at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use desonide exactly as directed. Do not apply more or less of it or apply it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not apply it to other areas of your body or use it to treat other skin conditions unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Your skin condition should improve during the first 2 weeks of your treatment. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve during this time.
Shake the lotion well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
This medication is only for use on the skin. Do not let desonide get into your eyes, nose, or mouth and do not swallow it.
To use desonide, apply a small amount of ointment, cream, or lotion to cover the affected area of the skin with a thin even film and rub it in gently.
If you are applying desonide to a child's diaper area, do not cover the area with tight fitting diapers or plastic pants.
Do not wrap or bandage the treated area unless your doctor tells you that you should. If your doctor tells you to wrap or bandage the treated area, follow these instructions:
- Soak the area in water or wash it well.
- While the skin is moist, gently rub the medication into the affected areas.
- Cover the area with plastic wrap (such as Saran Wrap®or Handi-Wrap®). The plastic may be held in place with a gauze or elastic bandage or adhesive tape on the normal skin beside the treated area. (Instead of using plastic wrap, plastic gloves may be used for the hands, plastic bags for the feet, or a shower cap for the scalp.)
- Carefully seal the edges of the plastic to make sure the wrap adheres closely to the skin. If the affected area is moist, you can leave the edges of the plastic wrap partly unsealed or puncture the wrap to allow excess moisture to escape.
- Leave the plastic wrap in place as long as directed by your doctor. Usually plastic wraps are left in place no more than 12 hours each day.
- Cleanse the skin and reapply the medication each time a new plastic wrapping is applied. Do not discontinue treatment abruptly without talking to your doctor.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using desonide,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to desonide or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention medications that suppress the immune system such as azathioprine (Imuran), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), methotrexate (Rheumatrex), sirolimus (Rapamune), and tacrolimus (Prograf). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes, Cushing's syndrome (an abnormal condition that is caused by excess hormones [corticosteroids]), problems with your circulation, or any condition that affects your immune system such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome (SCID).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using desonide, call your doctor.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double amount to make up for a missed dose.
Desonide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stinging, burning, irritation, peeling, dryness, and redness of the skin
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- redness, swelling, oozing pus or other signs of skin infection in the place where you applied desonide
- severe rash
Children who use desonide may have an increased risk of side effects including slowed growth and delayed weight gain. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of applying this medication to your child's skin.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
If you apply more desonide or apply it for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor, you may receive an overdose of medication. This can affect your body in many ways. Call your doctor if you accidentally apply too much medication, especially if you experience unusual symptoms.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab test to check your body's response to desonide.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.