Most of an inhaled dose of beclomethasone is actually swallowed, which may lead to reduced absorption of calcium.1 Health practitioners may recommend calcium supplementation to individuals using beclomethasone inhalers.
A group of women with asthma who had been taking inhaled beclomethasone were shown to have low levels of DHEA compared to women with asthma who were not taking beclomethasone.2 The authors speculated that this effect may partially explain how corticosteroids can cause osteoporosis. However, more research is needed to confirm these suspicions and to evaluate whether supplemental DHEA is beneficial to patients taking inhaled corticosteroids.
In animal research, applying aloe (Aloe vera) gel topically along with a topical corticosteroid enhanced the hormone’s anti-inflammatory activity in the skin.3 No human research has investigated this effect.
Children with alopecia areata who supplemented 100 mg of zinc and 20 mg biotin each day, combined with topical clobetasol, showed more improvement compared to children who took oral corticosteroid drugs.4 Controlled research is needed to determine whether adding oral zinc and biotin to topical clobetasol therapy is more effective than clobetasol alone. However, until more information is available, caregivers should consider that children with alopecia who are currently taking oral corticosteroids might benefit from switching to supplements of zinc and biotin along with topical clobetasol.
1. Smith BJ, Phillips PJ, Pannall PR. Effect of orally administered beclomethasone dipropionate on calcium absorption from the gut in normal subjects. Thorax 1993;48:890–3.
2. Smith BJ, Buxton JR, Dickeson J, Heller RF. Does beclomethasone dipropionate suppress dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate in postmenopausal women? Austral NZ J Med 1994;24:396–401.
3. Davis RH, Parker WL, Murdoch DP. Aloe vera as a biologically active vehicle for hydrocortisone acetate. J Am Podiatric Med Assoc 1991;81:1–9.
4. Camacho FM, Garcia-Hernandez MJ. Zinc aspartate, biotin, and clobetasol propionate in the treatment of alopecia areata in childhood. Pediatr Dermatol 1999;16:336–8 [letter].
Last Review: 05-01-2013
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