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Can clobetasol propionate be used for poison ivy?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 26, 2021.

Official answer


Clobetasone propionate may be used to treat a poison ivy rash if the rash has not yet blistered, or the rash is confined to a small area and oral corticosteroids are contraindicated. Clobetasone propionate is a super potent topical corticosteroid cream that is only approved for adults and children over the age of 12. Treatment should not exceed two weeks and no more than 50g of clobetasol propionate should be used over one week.

Although poison ivy rash usually resolves by itself, the discomfort is usually too much for most people to ignore. In skin that has blistered already, other treatments may be more appropriate, such as:

  • Cool compresses with astringents such as aluminum acetate
  • Colloidal oatmeal soaks
  • Sedating antihistamines such as diphenhydramine
  • Oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Other high potency topical corticosteroids approved for younger children, such as Elocon cream 0.1% (children over the age of 2 years) may also be considered.

Clobetasol propionate is a super potent corticosteroid cream that may be used temporarily to reduce inflammation (redness), itching, and discomfort. It should not be applied to the face or intertriginous areas (such as behind the elbows or knees, the groin area, nor used with occlusive dressings unless under the guidance of a clinician. Common brand names for clobetasol propionate include Cormax, Embeline, and Temovate.

  • Epstein W, Guin J, Maibach H. Poison Ivy Update. Contemporary Pediatrics
  • Clobetasol Updated Jan 19, 2021. ASHP.

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