In a Phase 2 HPA clinical study [see Pharmacodynamics ], pharmacokinetics was evaluated in a subgroup of 12 adult subjects. On Day 8, blood was taken just prior to and at 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 hours following the last application. Plasma concentration of halobetasol propionate was measureable in all subjects. Based on the geometric mean plasma concentrations at 12 hour post-application across time, steady-state was achieved by Day 8. The mean (±standard deviation) Cmax concentrations for ULTRAVATE lotion on Day 8 was ± pg/mL, with the corresponding median Tmax value of 3 hours (range 0 – 6 hours); mean area under the halobetasol propionate concentration versus time curve over the dosing interval (AUCτ) was 1632 ± 1147 pg•h/mL.
The most common side effect of topical corticosteroid use is skin atrophy. All topical steroids can induce atrophy, but higher potency steroids, occlusion, thinner skin, and older patient age increase the risk. The face, the backs of the hands, and intertriginous areas are particularly susceptible. Resolution often occurs after discontinuing use of these agents, but it may take months. Concurrent use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A) % may reduce the incidence of atrophy from chronic steroid applications. 30 Other side effects from topical steroids include permanent dermal atrophy, telangiectasia, and striae.
There is no evidence of safe and effective use of topical corticosteroids in pregnant mothers. Therefore, they should be used only if clearly needed. Long term use and large applications of topical corticosteroids may cause birth defects in the unborn. It is not known whether topical corticosteroids enter breast milk. Therefore, caution must be exercised before using it in nursing mothers. Topical corticosteroids should not be applied to the breasts of nursing mothers unless the mothers instructed to do so by the physician.