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Betamethasone is a synthetic steroid closely related to dexamethasone. Betnesol (Glaxo), its 21-phosphate ester, has been on the market for several years and in the available concentration (0.1%) is no more effective than 1% hydrocortisone1. Now another ester, the 17-valerate (Betnovate - Glaxo) has been introduced and is claimed to be the most potent topical steroid at present available. This claim was initially based on comparisons of its vasoconstrictor activity with that of other steroids2 and has recently been supported clinically3.

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