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July 1977

Betamethasone and Its Derivatives

Arch Dermatol. 1977;113(7):988. doi:10.1001/archderm.1977.01640070122039

To the Editor.—  May I draw your attention to a confusing nomenclature in the article entitled "Multicenter Trial Analysis: Fluocinonide and Betamethasone Gel in Psoriasis" (Arch Dermatol 112:1729-1733, 1976). The corticosteroid under study was betamethasone benzoate, and it is correctly referred to just once in the summary, once in the text, and in the figures. However, in the title and on most of the occasions in the text, it is referred to as betamethasone. Betamethasone benzoate, like betamethasone valerate, is an ester derived from betamethasone (alcohol), and all three substances have different biological properties. Betamethasone is a highly active anti-inflammatory corticosteroid when given systemically, but has little activity when applied to the skin. On the other hand, the two esters have a relatively low level of systemic activity but are highly active when applied topically. Further, considerable differences in activity can be seen between various esters derived from the same

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