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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 6, 2020.


(DES oh nide)

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling. [DSC] = Discontinued product

Cream, External:

DesOwen: 0.05% (60 g)

Tridesilon: 0.05% (60 g) [contains cetyl alcohol, methylparaben]

Generic: 0.05% (15 g, 60 g)

Foam, External:

Verdeso: 0.05% (100 g) [contains cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol]

Gel, External:

Desonate: 0.05% (60 g) [contains edetate (edta) disodium dihydrate, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben]

Generic: 0.05% (60 g)

Lotion, External:

DesOwen: 0.05% (59 mL [DSC], 118 mL [DSC]) [contains cetyl alcohol, edetate disodium, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben]

LoKara: 0.05% (59 mL [DSC], 118 mL [DSC])

Generic: 0.05% (59 mL, 118 mL)

Ointment, External:

Generic: 0.05% (15 g, 60 g)

Brand Names: U.S.

  • Desonate
  • DesOwen
  • LoKara [DSC]
  • Tridesilon
  • Verdeso

Pharmacologic Category

  • Corticosteroid, Topical


Topical corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory, antipruritic, and vasoconstrictive properties. May depress the formation, release, and activity of endogenous chemical mediators of inflammation (kinins, histamine, liposomal enzymes, prostaglandins) through the induction of phospholipase A2 inhibitory proteins (lipocortins) and sequential inhibition of the release of arachidonic acid. Desonide has low range potency.


Dependent on formulation, amount applied and nature of skin at application site; may be increased with inflammation or occlusion




Primarily urine; bile

Use: Labeled Indications

Atopic dermatitis (foam and gel): Treatment of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in patients 3 months and older

Corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses (cream, ointment, and lotion): Relief of inflammatory and pruritic manifestations of corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses.


Hypersensitivity to desonide or any component of the formulation.

Verdeso: There are no contraindications listed in the manufacturer's labeling.

Documentation of allergenic cross-reactivity corticosteroids is limited. However, because of similarities in chemical structure and/or pharmacologic actions, the possibility of cross-sensitivity cannot be ruled out with certainty.

Dosing: Adult

Atopic dermatitis: Topical: Foam, gel: Apply 2 times daily sparingly. Therapy should be discontinued when control is achieved. If no improvement is seen within 4 weeks, reassessment of diagnosis may be necessary; treatment should not exceed 4 consecutive weeks.

Corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses: Topical: Cream, ointment, lotion: Apply to the affected area(s) sparingly 2 or 3 times daily (lotion) or 2 to 4 times daily (cream, ointment). Therapy should be discontinued when control is achieved. If no improvement is seen within 2 weeks, reassessment of diagnosis may be necessary.

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Note: Dosage should be based on severity of disease and patient response; use smallest amount for shortest period of time to avoid hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression. Therapy should be discontinued when control is achieved.

Atopic dermatitis: Infants ≥3 months, Children, and Adolescents: Foam 0.05%, gel 0.05%: Apply a thin layer to affected area twice daily. If no improvement is seen within 4 weeks, reassessment of diagnosis may be necessary; treatment should not exceed 4 consecutive weeks.

Corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses: Limited data available: Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Topical: Cream, ointment, lotion (0.05%): Apply sparingly to the affected area(s) twice daily (Jorizzo 1995; Kliegman 2020; NICE 2007).


For topical use only; not for oral, ophthalmic, or intravaginal use. For use on the face, dispense desonide in hands and gently massage into affected areas of the face; for areas other than the face, desonide may be dispensed directly on the affected area. Wash hands after use (unless hands are part of the treatment area). Do not use on open wounds; apply sparingly using smallest amount needed to adequately cover the affected area. Use of occlusive dressings is not recommended; do not use in the treatment of diaper dermatitis. Avoid contact with eyes or other mucous membranes.

Foam, lotion: Shake well before use. Dispense by inverting can upside down (upright actuation will cause loss of propellant). Foam is flammable; patients should not smoke during or immediately following application.


Cream, lotion, ointment: Store between 2°C and 30°C (36°F and 86°F). Store Tridesilon cream at 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).

Foam: Store between 20°C and 25°C (68°F and 77°F); excursions are permitted between 15°C and 30°C (59°F and 86°F). Foam is flammable; keep away from excessive heat (eg, temperatures >49°C [120°F], fire or flames. Do not puncture or incinerate container.

Gel: Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions are permitted between 15°C and 30°C (59°F and 86°F).

Drug Interactions

There are no known significant interactions.

Adverse Reactions

The following adverse drug reactions and incidences are derived from product labeling unless otherwise specified.

1% to 10%:

Cardiovascular: Increased blood pressure (2%)

Central nervous system: Headache (2%), irritability (1%)

Dermatologic: Stinging of the skin (≤3%), atopic dermatitis (<2%; exacerbation), contact dermatitis (<2%), exfoliation of skin (<2%), pruritus (<2%), skin irritation (<2%), xeroderma (<2%), skin rash (≤1%)

Endocrine & metabolic: Hyperglycemia (2%), HPA-axis suppression (more common in pediatric patients)

Hepatic: Abnormal liver function (1%)

Infection: Viral infection (2%)

Local: Application site reaction (1% to 6%), application site burning (≤3%), application site atrophy (1%)

Respiratory: Upper respiratory tract infection (10%), cough (4%), asthma (1%), pharyngitis (1%)

<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Application site erythema, application site induration, application site irritation, application-site pruritus, dermatological reaction, diaphoresis, erythema of skin, facial swelling, folliculitis, oily skin, pain, peripheral edema, pustular rash


Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Adrenal suppression: May cause hypercortisolism or suppression of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, particularly in younger children or in patients receiving high doses for prolonged periods. HPA axis suppression may lead to adrenal crisis.

• Contact dermatitis: Allergic contact dermatitis can occur, it is usually diagnosed by failure to heal rather than clinical exacerbation; discontinue use if irritation occurs and treat appropriately.

• Kaposi sarcoma: Prolonged treatment with corticosteroids has been associated with the development of Kaposi sarcoma (case reports); if noted, discontinuation of therapy should be considered (Goedert 2002).

• Local effects: Local adverse reactions may occur (eg, skin atrophy, striae, telangiectasias, burning, itching, irritation, dryness, folliculitis, acneiform eruptions, hypopigmentation, perioral dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, secondary infection miliaria); may be irreversible. Local adverse reactions are more likely to occur with occlusive and/or prolonged use.

• Ocular effects: Topical corticosteroids, including desonide, may increase the risk of posterior subcapsular cataracts and glaucoma. Monitor for ocular symptoms. Avoid contact with eyes.

• Skin infections: Concomitant skin infections may be present or develop during therapy; discontinue if dermatological infection persists despite appropriate antimicrobial therapy.

• Systemic effects: Topical corticosteroids may be absorbed percutaneously. Absorption of topical corticosteroids may cause manifestations of Cushing syndrome, hyperglycemia, or glycosuria. Use of the foam for >4 weeks may suppress the immune system. Absorption of topical corticosteroids is increased by the use of occlusive dressings, application to denuded skin, or application to large surface areas.

Special populations:

• Pediatric: Children may absorb proportionally larger amounts after topical application and may be more prone to systemic effects. HPA axis suppression, intracranial hypertension, and Cushing's syndrome have been reported in children receiving topical corticosteroids. Prolonged use may affect growth velocity; growth should be routinely monitored in pediatric patients.

Dosage forms specific issues:

• Foam: Flammable; keep away from fire or flame. Instruct patients to avoid smoking during and immediately after application.

• Propylene glycol: Some dosage forms may contain propylene glycol; large amounts are potentially toxic and have been associated with hyperosmolality, lactic acidosis, seizures, and respiratory depression; use caution (AAP ["Inactive" 1997]; Zar 2007).

Other warnings/precautions:

• Appropriate use: Do not use if there is atrophy at the treatment site. Do not use with occlusive dressing.

Monitoring Parameters

HPA axis suppression (ACTH stimulation test, AM plasma cortisol test, urinary free cortisol test); signs of bacterial or fungal infection; ocular symptoms

Patient Education

What is this drug used for?

• It is used to treat skin rashes.

• It is used to treat skin irritation.

• It is used to treat eczema.

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

• Common cold symptoms

• Dry skin

• Burning

• Stinging

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

• High blood sugar like confusion, fatigue, increased thirst, increased hunger, passing a lot of urine, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit

• Adrenal gland problems like severe nausea, vomiting, severe dizziness, passing out, muscle weakness, severe fatigue, mood changes, lack of appetite, or weight loss

• Cushing syndrome like weight gain in upper back or abdomen; moon face; severe headache; or slow healing

• Skin changes like acne, stretch marks, slow healing, or hair growth

• Vision changes

• Eye pain

• Severe eye irritation

• Skin irritation

• Skin discoloration

• Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a limited summary of general information about the medicine’s uses from the patient education leaflet and is not intended to be comprehensive. This limited summary does NOT include all information available about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. For a more detailed summary of information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine, please speak with your healthcare provider and review the entire patient education leaflet.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.