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Common Name:

halobetasol - tazarotene


How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

This combination product contains two medications: halobetasol and tazarotene. Tazarotene belongs to a group of medications called retinoids. Halobetasol belongs to the family of medications called topical corticosteroids. In combination they are used to treat the signs and symptoms of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Tazarotene is believed to help psoriasis by reducing inflammation and keeping skin cell growth down to a normal rate. Halobetasol helps to control redness, itchiness, and irritation of the skin by reducing inflammation.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each gram of white-to-off-white lotion contains 0.1 mg of (0.01%) halobetasol propionate and 0.45 mg (0.045%) of tazarotene. Nonmedicinal ingredients: carbomer copolymer Type B, carbomer homopolymer Type A, diethyl sebacate, edetate disodium dihydrate, light mineral oil, methylparaben, propylparaben, purified water, sodium hydroxide, sorbitan monooleate, and sorbitol solution 70%.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of this medication is one application to the affected areas once a day. A thin layer of lotion should be applied only to the affected areas and gently rubbed in. The skin should be dry before applying the medication. Apply moisturizers as often as necessary after applying the lotion.

Only apply this medication to areas of skin affected by psoriasis plaques. Avoid applying the lotion to the face, scalp, underarms, or the areas between fingers and toes. If this medication comes in contact with your eyes, flush your eyes well with cold water.

Wash your hands with soap and water after applying the lotion, unless you are treating psoriasis on your hands. Do not cover the treatment areas with dressings or bandages. Do not apply to skin that is broken or severely inflamed.

Once your skin improves, stop using this medication. You may then use it on and off as necessary.

This medication may cause increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. Sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) and protective clothing should be used when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Your skin may also become more sensitive to wind and very hot or cold weather.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to tazarotene, halobetasol, or any ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to retinoids (such as isotretinoin or tretinoin)
  • are allergic to other corticosteroids (e.g., betamethasone, fluocinolone)
  • have seborrheic dermatitis
  • are or may become pregnant
  • have untreated bacterial, tubercular, parasitic, or fungal infections of the skin
  • have viral lesions of the skin (including herpes simplex, vaccinia, and chickenpox)

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • blisters
  • burning or stinging sensation
  • red areas under skin
  • dry or flaking skin
  • inflamed hair follicles
  • itching
  • oozing
  • red, sore, or peeling skin at the application site
  • skin sores
  • skin tears or scrapes
  • stretch marks
  • swelling
  • thinning skin
  • worsening psoriasis

Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • diverticulum (e.g., alternating diarrhea and constipation, cramps, or tenderness in the lower abdomen; chills; fever)
  • skin infection (e.g., warmth, redness, pain, slow healing)
  • skin rash
  • symptoms of decreased adrenal gland function (e.g., tiredness, weakness, nausea, vomiting)
  • symptoms of too much corticosteroid (e.g., weight gain, pink or purple stretch marks, fragile skin, easy bruising, slow healing of cuts)
  • symptoms of high numbers of white blood cells in the body (e.g., fever; bleeding or bruising; weakness; fatigue; pain or tingling in arms, legs, or abdomen; trouble breathing, concentrating; weight loss)

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
  • signs of bleeding in the stomach (e.g., bloody, black, or tarry stools; spitting up of blood; vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Absorption: Absorption of the medication into the bloodstream may lead to adrenal suppression (reduction of the body’s reaction to stressful situations) and side effects, especially if the lotion is used over large areas or for an extended period of time. Occasionally, symptoms of steroid withdrawal may develop when the medication is stopped after prolonged use.

Circulation problems: Topical corticosteroids should be used with caution by people with skin diseases associated with impaired circulation. 

Eczema: Retinoids can cause severe irritation of eczema. If you have eczema, your doctor will monitor your condition while you are using halobetasol-tazarotene.

Exposure to sunlight: This medication can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. This may be made worse if you are taking other medications that cause sensitivity to sunlight (e.g., tetracyclines, quinolone antibiotics, "sulfa" antibiotics). Make sure you use sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) and protective clothing when exposed to sunlight. If you have a sunburn, do not use halobetasol-tazarotene until you have fully recovered.

Infection: Topical corticosteroids may increase the risk of developing a skin infection. Contact your doctor if you notice any increased redness, swelling, heat or pain around the area where the medication is applied, as these are possible signs of infection.

Skin irritation: Halobetasol – tazarotene may cause skin irritation. If this happens you may need to use this mediation less frequently. If local irritation or sensitization develops, call your doctor.

Vision: This medication may increase the risk of developing glaucoma or cataracts. If you have glaucoma, it may make symptoms of glaucoma worse. Report any changes in vision to your doctor as soon as possible.

Pregnancy: Halobetasol – tazarotene should not be used during pregnancy. If you may become pregnant, you should use an effective method of birth control while using this medication, and you should start using halobetasol – tazarotene only after you have confirmed that you are not pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if tazarotene or halobetasol passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

Seniors: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for people older than 65 years of age. Seniors tend to have fragile skin and other diseases that make them more likely to experience side effects of this medication.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between halobetasol – tazarotene and any of the following:

  • aldesleukin
  • other topical medications that contain corticosteroids, retinoids, or irritants

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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Last Updated: 13/07/2024