1. About mometasone for skin
Mometasone skin treatments are available on prescription only. They come as:
- scalp lotions
They are stronger than some other treatments. Mometasone is usually prescribed when milder steroids, like hydrocortisone, have not worked.
It also comes as an inhaler and a nasal spray.
2. Key facts
- It’s important to follow the instruction when using a steroid skin treatment. This helps to avoid side effects.
- Only use a mometasone skin treatment if your doctor prescribes it for you. Do not use someone else’s medicine.
- Generally mometasone is not recommended for the sensitive skin on your face. Only use it on your face if your doctor says it’s OK.
- Mometasone skin treatments will not help with conditions such as acne or rosacea.
- Only use mometasone on large areas of your body or for long periods of time if your doctor says it’s OK.
- If your doctor has prescribed high doses of mometasone to control your symptoms you may need to carry a steroid emergency card. Ask your pharmacist or doctor.
3. Who can and cannot use mometasone for skin
Most adults and children aged 2 years and older can use mometasone skin treatments.
Mometasone may not be suitable for some people. Tell a doctor or pharmacist before using it if you:
- have ever had an allergic reaction to mometasone or any other medicine in the past
- have chickenpox or shingles
- have acne or rosacea
- have a skin infection
- have broken skin, cuts or itchy skin which is not inflamed or red
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or you’re breastfeeding
4. How and when to use mometasone for skin
Always follow the instructions from a pharmacist, doctor or the leaflet that comes with your medicine.
How to use mometasone cream or ointment
Creams are better for skin that is moist and weepy. Ointments are thicker and greasier, and are better for dry or flaky areas of skin.
You will usually use mometasone cream or ointment once a day.
The amount of cream or ointment you need to use is sometimes measured in fingertip units. This is the amount you can squeeze onto the end of your finger.
A fingertip unit of cream is generally enough to treat an area that’s twice the size of the palm of your hand.
For children, the right amount of cream or ointment depends on their age. A doctor or pharmacist can advise you.
How to apply cream or ointment
- Wash and dry your hands and then squeeze out the right amount.
- Spread the cream or ointment in a thin layer over the area of irritated skin.
- Carefully smooth it into your skin in the direction that your hair grows.
- Use the cream or ointment on all the irritated skin, not just the worst areas.
- Be careful not to get the cream or ointment on broken skin or cuts.
- Wash your hands afterwards (unless you are treating the skin on your hands).
Wait at least 10 minutes before using any other creams or ointments.
Skin creams can dry onto your clothes and bedding. This makes them more likely to catch fire. Avoid naked flames.
If you need to use a dressing, like a bandage or plaster, wait at least 10 minutes after putting mometasone on.
If you're treating a child, do not cover the cream or ointment with dressings or bandages. This can cause more medicine to pass through the skin and into the bloodstream, leading to a higher chance of side effects. If your doctor has prescribed it to treat very severe nappy rash, ask them how much to use and how long to use it for.
How to apply mometasone scalp lotion
You will usually use the scalp lotion once a day.
You can use it on wet or dry hair.
- Wash and dry your hands.
- Unscrew the bottle cap and place the nozzle directly on your scalp.
- Apply a few drops of scalp lotion to the affected area of the scalp.
- Gently massage until the lotion disappears.
- Wash your hands afterwards.
Will my dose go up or down?
Once your skin starts getting better, do not stop using mometasone suddenly. Speak to your doctor, who might tell you to gradually reduce your dose or give you a milder steroid cream or ointment to use until you stop completely.
How long will I use mometasone for?
Most people only need to use mometasone skin treatments for a short time. Stop as soon as your skin is better. You will usually only use it for a few days.
Children must not use mometasone skin treatments for more than 5 days, unless their doctor says to use it for longer.
If your doctor says you can use mometasone on your face, then it’s usually OK to use it for up to 5 days. Only use the cream or ointment for longer than 5 days if your doctor tells you to.
Speak to your doctor if your skin gets worse or does not get better within 14 days of using mometasone skin treatments.
What if I use too much?
Using too much mometasone is unlikely to harm you.
If you’re worried, talk to a doctor or pharmacist.
What if I forget to put it on?
If you forget to use your mometasone, do not worry. Use it as soon as you remember unless it’s nearly time for your next dose. In this case, skip the missed dose and apply the next one at the usual time.
5. Side effects
Mometasone skin products are unlikely to cause any side effects if you follow the instructions.
Some people get a burning or stinging feeling for a few minutes when they put mometasone on their skin. This stops happening after you’ve been using it for a few days.
If your doctor has prescribed high doses of mometasone, or you’re also taking other steroid medicines or tablets for fungal infections or HIV, you may get underactive adrenal glands as a side effect. Ask your doctor if you need to carry a steroid emergency card.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects are rare. You’re more likely to have a serious side effect if you use mometasone on a large area of skin for a long time.
Using mometasone for a long time can make your skin thinner or cause stretch marks. Stretch marks are likely to be permanent, but they usually fade over time.
Stop using mometasone and tell a doctor straight away if:
- the treated skin becomes redder or swollen, or yellow fluid is weeping from your skin – these are signs of a new skin infection or an existing one getting worse
- you get lighter or darker patches on your skin – these are a sign of changes to the pigment in your skin
- you are using mometasone for psoriasis and you get raised bumps filled with pus under your skin
- you have a very upset stomach or you’re being sick (vomiting), feel very tired, have very bad dizziness or fainting, muscle weakness, mood changes, loss of appetite and weight loss – these can be signs of adrenal gland problems
- you have new problems with your eyesight after starting to use mometasone
Children and teenagers
In very rare cases, using mometasone for a long time can slow down the normal growth of children and teenagers.
Your child's doctor will monitor their height and weight carefully for as long as they're using this medicine. This will help them to notice if your child's growth is being affected and change their treatment if needed.
Even if your child's growth slows down, it does not seem to have much effect on their overall adult height.
Talk to your doctor if you're worried. They will be able to explain the benefits and risks of your child using mometasone.
Serious allergic reaction
It happens rarely but it is possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to mometasone.
Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E now if:
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you're wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.
These are not all the side effects of mometasone. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
You can report any suspected side effect using the Yellow Card safety scheme.
6. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Mometasone in pregnancy
Mometasone skin treatments are not normally recommended if you're pregnant.
Only use mometasone if your doctor or dermatologist (skin specialist) prescribes it and is supervising your treatment. They will be able to explain the benefits and risks of using mometasone.
Mometasone and breastfeeding
Only use mometasone when breastfeeding if your doctor has said it's OK.
If you're using mometasone on your breasts, wash off any cream or ointment from your breasts, then wash your hands before feeding your baby.
It's usually better to use cream rather than ointment when breastfeeding, as it's easier to wash off.
Non-urgent advice: Tell your doctor if you're:
- trying to get pregnant
For more information about how mometasone for skin might affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet about steroid creams and ointments on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPs) website.
7. Cautions with other medicines
Other medicines are unlikely to affect the way mometasone skin treatments work.
Tell a pharmacist or doctor if you’re taking:
- medicines used to treat HIV, such as ritonavir or cobicistat
- medicines used to treat fungal infections, such as itraconazole
- other medicines that contain steroids, such as eczema creams, asthma inhalers, tablets, injections, nasal spray, and eye or nose drops
Mixing mometasone with herbal remedies and supplements
There's very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements while using mometasone. Ask a pharmacist for advice.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines, vitamins or supplements.
8. Common questions about mometasone for skin
How does mometasone work?
Mometasone is a steroid (also called a corticosteroid). Steroids help to reduce swelling (inflammation) in the skin (and other parts of the body).
Skin gets inflamed when an allergic reaction or irritation causes chemicals to be released in the skin. These make your blood vessels widen and your irritated skin becomes red, swollen, itchy and painful.
Mometasone skin treatments work on your skin’s cells to stop these chemicals being released. This reduces any swelling, redness and itching.
When will my skin get better?
Your skin should start to get better after you’ve used mometasone for a few days.
Speak to your doctor if there if your skin does not get better after 14 days, or if your skin gets worse at any time.
How long will I use mometasone for?
For long-term skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis, you may need to use mometasone for 1 or 2 weeks, or sometimes for longer.
Do not use mometasone on your face for more than 5 days, unless your doctor tells you this is OK.
If your symptoms get worse or if they have not improved after 14 days (after 5 days for a child), ask your doctor for further advice.
Once your skin is better, you can use an emollient (moisturising treatment) to keep it from becoming inflamed again.
If you need treatment for a long time, your doctor may decide you need to use a milder cream or ointment.
Talk to your doctor before stopping treatment if you've been using mometasone for a long time. They may tell you to gradually use less of it, and use it less often, before you stop completely. This reduces the chance of your symptoms coming back.
Is it safe to use mometasone for a long time?
Using mometasone for a long time without stopping can mean some of the medicine gets into your bloodstream. If this happens, there’s a very small chance it can cause serious side effects, such as adrenal gland problems, high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia), thinning of your skin, or problems with your eyesight.
If you have been using mometasone for a long time, your doctor may tell you to gradually reduce the amount you use, or use a milder steroid, before stopping completely.
Can I use mometasone skin treatments on my face?
Do not use mometasone on your face unless a doctor has told you to.
The skin on your face is delicate. If mometasone skin treatments thin the skin or damage it, it’s particularly noticeable.
If a doctor has said you can use it on your face, do not use it for more than 5 days.
Do not put mometasone near your eyes or on your eyelids.
Can steroids make eczema worse?
Steroids like mometasone reduce swelling (inflammation) in your skin to help manage your symptoms. They do not cure eczema.
If you feel your symptoms are getting worse after using mometasone, it's important to tell a doctor.
When you stop using mometasone, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can flare up again.
You can avoid this by gradually reducing the amount you put on, and how often you use it. Your doctor can tell you how to do this.
Can I still have vaccinations?
Using mometasone does not stop you or your child having vaccinations.
But tell the doctor or nurse that you're using mometasone skin treatments so they can give the vaccine in an untreated area of your skin.
Do I need a steroid card?
If you're using steroid medicines such as mometasone, your adrenal glands may not make as much of some of the hormones your body needs such as cortisol (known as the stress hormone). This is known as adrenal insufficiency.
It’s more likely to happen if you take high doses for a long time (especially tablets and injections) or if you regularly use different kinds of steroids at the same time (such as a steroid nasal spray and a steroid inhaler).
Your doctor or pharmacist will assess your risk of adrenal insufficiency based on the type and dose of steroids you’re taking, and may recommend that you carry a steroid emergency card (red card). This card is the size of a credit card and fits in your wallet or purse.
If you need any medical or dental treatment, or are having surgery or an invasive procedure, show your steroid emergency card to your doctor or dentist. This is important so they know you're having steroid treatment and can give you extra steroids as needed.
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Yes, you can drink alcohol while using mometasone.
Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?
No. This medicine is not affected by what you eat or drink.
Will it affect my fertility?
There’s no clear evidence that mometasone affects male or female fertility.
However, speak to a pharmacist or your doctor if you are trying to get pregnant.
Can I drive or ride a bike?
Mometasone does not make you sleepy, so it’s safe to drive or ride a bike (or use tools or machinery) when using this medicine.