Betamethasone is a glucocorticoid receptor agonist. This leads to changes in genetic expression once this complex binds to the GRE. The antiinflammatory actions of corticosteroids are thought to involve lipocortins, phospholipase A2 inhibitory proteins which, through inhibition arachidonic acid, control the biosynthesis of prostaglandins and leukotrienes. The immune system is suppressed by corticosteroids due to a decrease in the function of the lymphatic system, a reduction in immunoglobulin and complement concentrations, the precipitation of lymphocytopenia, and interference with antigen-antibody binding. Betamethasone binds to plasma transcortin, and it becomes active when it is not bound to transcortin.
Betamethasone and its derivatives, betamethasone sodium phosphate and betamethasone acetate, are synthetic glucocorticoids. Used for its antiinflammatory or immunosuppressive properties, betamethasone is combined with a mineralocorticoid to manage adrenal insufficiency and is used in the form of betamethasone benzoate, betamethasone dipropionate, or betamethasone valerate for the treatment of inflammation due to corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses. Betamethasone and clotrimazole are used together to treat cutaneous tinea infections.
Symptoms of overdose include burning, itching, irritation, dryness, folliculitis, hypertrichosis, acneiform eruptions, hypopigmentation, perioral dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, maceration of the skin, secondary infection, skin atrophy, striae, and miliaria.