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Reference List of Cheap Generic Steroids (by class)

There are many different types of steroids available at local pharmacies that are inexpensive and easy for your patients to procure.  This is not meant to be a complete or exhaustive list – but it is a handy reference for dermatologists and dermatology students when looking for information on different classes of steroids.

When defining these as “cheap”, we consider the following criteria:

  • They are generally available at most pharmacies
  • Cost under $50 for 45 grams or more (without insurance)
  • Should NOT require a “prior auth” if using insurance

We have listed these using the “USA” system.  The USA system breaks steroids down into 7 classes, which are differentiated by their ability to constrict capillaries and cause skin blanching. Class I is the strongest, or superpotent. Class VII is the weakest and mildest.

If you are seeking steroid types from countries outside of the United States, please refer to reference materials for your country.

(PLEASE NOTE – many are listed by brand name simply because the brand name is shorter and easier to write – but should always be filled with generic.) 

Last Updated 2.10.2020

Class 1

  • Diprolene lotion (really a “solution”)
  • Diprolene gel
  • Diprolene ointment

Class 2 

  • Diprosone Ointment
  • Lidex solution
  • Diprolene AF cream
  • Elocon ointment

Class 3

  • Diprosone cream
  • Triamcinolone 0.5% cream
  • Betatrex ointment
  • Cutivate ointment

Class 4

  • Elocon lotion (really solution)
  • Elocon cream

Class 5

  • Diprosone lotion (really a “solution”)
  • Betatrex lotion (really a “solution”) (betamethasone valerate 0.1%)
  • Betatrex cream
  • Cutivate cream

Class 6 

  • Desowen ointment or cream
  • Aclovate cream or ointment

Hydrocortisone 2.5% ointment 1lb jar – $4 list at Walmart

Triamcinolone 0.1% cream or ointment 1lb jar – cheap and available everywhere

(NOTE – triamcinolone all strengths and sizes always cheap and available)

Disclaimer: All of the information on this website is being presented as helpful reference material but should not be considered authoritative. There are no references because the information has been collected over the years piecemeal from notes, lectures, journals, textbooks, personal communications with other physicians and experience. You may disagree with some of it. Take it simply for what it is: information that I have found useful in my day to day practice as a clinical dermatologist and my hope is that you find it useful as well.


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