What is DUOBRII (Halobetasol Propionate and Tazarotene)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last updated: July 2022

DUOBRII is a prescription lotion developed to treat the symptoms of psoriasis in adults. DUOBRII combines two medications: halobetasol propionate and tazarotene. Both are available as separate medicated lotions to treat the disease, but each has limitations. The combination of medicines in DUOBRII offers the benefits of both medications (a corticosteroid plus a retinoid) while reducing the side effects of taking either one in concentrated form or over time.1

In clinical trials, DUOBRII started working within two to four weeks. After eight weeks, 45% of patients on the medicine had “clear” or “almost clear” skin. That was 3.5 times more than people using a placebo, or non-medicated, lotion.1

What are the ingredients in DUOBRII?

The active ingredients in DUOBRII are halobetasol propionate and tazarotene.2

How does DUOBRII work?

DUOBRII is a prescription skin lotion that contains two different medications. Each medicine works differently to help relieve psoriasis symptoms. The combination relieves psoriasis symptoms better than either medicine alone.

Halobetasol propionate

Halobetasol propionate is a man-made corticosteroid that is approved for use on the skin. Corticosteroids are cortisone-type medicines that imitate our body’s natural cortisone hormones, which are important for maintaining overall health.4Corticosteroids are used to prevent itching and inflammation, but they are strong medications that can cause serious side effects that impact the body’s immune system. Because of this, halobetasol propionate cannot be used for more than two weeks at a time.2

What is tazarotene

Tazarotene is a topical medicine that belongs to a class of drugs called retinoids. Retinoids are similar to vitamin A, and they can reduce fine wrinkles on the skin by increasing collagen formation.5 They are also used to reduce the characteristic redness and itching that accompany psoriasis.6 Tazarotene can cause serious skin irritation when it is used over a long period of time.

What are the possible side effects of DUOBRII?

Common side effects of DUOBRII include:7

  • Redness, itching, swelling, burning, stinging
  • Pain or soreness where you spread the medicine
  • Hair follicle infections. Hair follicles are the small pockets from which hair grows.
  • Thinning skin
  • Peeling skin
  • Rash

In some patients, DUOBRII can cause more harmful side effects.1 If too much DUOBRII passes through your skin, it may cause your adrenal glands to stop working properly. The adrenal glands produce hormones that are responsible for regulating your blood, your digestion, and other important bodily functions. DUOBRII may also lead to other disorders. These include Cushing’s Syndrome, high blood sugar, and growth problems in children. DUOBRII may also lead to eye problems, including an increased chance of developing glaucoma and cataracts.1

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of DUOBRII. For more information, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. If you notice any new or worsening side effects, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

Things to note about DUOBRII

DUOBRII is a medicine that you use by spreading it on your skin. You should use it only on external skin and never in your eyes, nose, or vagina. Keep skin treated with DUOBRII away from the sun, as it can make your skin burn more easily. Also, avoid wrapping or covering skin treated with DUOBRII.4

DUOBRII can cause birth defects, so it is very important to get a pregnancy test before you start the medication and to use birth control while you use it.2

Before using DUOBRII, tell you doctor if you:2

  • have eczema or any other skin problems
  • have a skin infection. You may need medicine to treat the infection before starting DUOBRII
  • have diabetes
  • have adrenal gland problems
  • have liver problems
  • plan to become pregnant or breastfeed

Dosing Information

Apply a thin layer of DUOBRII to affected skin (skin that has psoriasis patches) and rub it in gently. Be sure your skin is dry if you bathe or shower before applying the lotion. You should not use more than 50 grams of medicine per week, to prevent problems with your adrenal glands.2

If you develop skin irritation, your health care provider might tell you to use less lotion or to stop using it until your skin gets better. Avoid using DUOBRII on your face, groin, or armpits. Also never use it in your eyes, mouth, or vagina.2

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