Lotions and Potions and Creams, Oh My
The tube of ointment would have been in better shape if it had a cap that fit. I had been carrying it around the house, laid it down in a location that I couldn’t remember, then found it on the windowsill, the white ointment oozing out of the askew, overlarge cap.
And it wasn’t even the right prescription. It was Betamethasone dipropionate, but my dermatologist had said to use Clobetesol on a red scaly patch on my leg and smaller irritated spots on my hands. She thought I had it so she hadn’t sent in a prescription.
Wondering which cream is which
I looked up, “Is betamethasone the same as Clobetesol?” This kind of thing was not on my list when I wrote about what I wanted to do when I grew up. Betamethasone is “a steroid that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation…and is used to treat the inflammation and itching caused by a number of skin conditions.” Clobetesol seemed to have the same definition. No precancer was involved – this time – or else she would have had me apply Efudex.
Maybe you know the problem: Too many lotions and potions, too many caps that get separated from their tubes, too many prescription boxes, with refill information, separated from their tubes. My bathroom drawer overfloweth with them.
Learning to keep track of them all
When I review my medication list with a doctor who is not a dermatologist, I don’t even know what to say about some of this stuff. I mentioned this commotion to a dermatologist who I was interviewing for a story about the side effects of Efudex and told him I was thinking of putting all my dermatology meds into a bag and taking them to my next appointment. He suggests something similar to his patients, but he tells them to just take a photo of all their meds so he can help them figure out what they need and what they don’t need.
You have to be a detective sometimes. I got different answers according to different formulations and even different charts. I tried to get through to my dermatologist, but that was a different challenge. After the main number, press 1 for mental health, press 4 for dermatology, press this or that and that for different dermatologists in the office. Leave a message. Don’t get a callback.
Clobetesol seems to be a little stronger, but just by a little.
Taking a different route
After what I fear has been a big time sucker, I decide to ask my pharmacist. Did I have a prescription for Clobetesol? Yes, but for some reason I never picked it up. He said I can use the Betamethasone. I used it for a day. Then I realized I should persist in getting through to the dermatologist and maybe start from scratch by splurging for a whole new tube of the exact thing she wants me to use. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s frustrating, and it feels like I could have been doing better things with my time.
On the other hand, maybe I should get a better system.
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