Amcinonide (Topical)

Topical amcinonide is designed to treat itching, inflammation and rashes associated with a range of dermatological conditions, including eczema.

Overview

Amcinonide is a topical medicine which works to treat skin irritation and rashes caused by a wide range of skin conditions. It may be prescribed to people with allergies, eczema, dermatitis and similar dermatological conditions which tend to cause skin to become itchy, swollen, red, inflamed and generally uncomfortable.

Amcinonide is a type of corticosteroid, which means that it blocks chemicals called prostaglandins which naturally occur in the body when skin reacts to irritation or allergens. Prostaglandins trigger an inflammatory response which, among other things, causes blood vessels to widen and leads to skin becoming inflamed, swollen and itchy. By blocking prostaglandins, corticosteroids such as amcinonide can prevent and relieve the inflammatory response and its symptoms.

In the US, topical amcinonide is available in cream, ointment or lotion forms. It is known under the brand name Cyclocort and is only available with a doctor's prescription.

Condition(s) treated?

  • Skin rash
  • Skin irritation

Type of medicine?

  • Topical corticosteroid

Side Effects

If you have had an allergic reaction to a corticosteroid medicine in the past, let your doctor know before you start using amcinonide cream. Similarly, if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the packaging, do not use the cream. You should make sure your doctor knows of any allergies you have, particularly to ingredients frequently found in lotions or ointments, so that they can assess whether amcinonide is safe for you.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to amcinonide, which you should report to a doctor immediately, include:

  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Blistering or peeling
  • Fever
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Cough or hoarseness
  • Swelling of tongue, lips or throat

Many people who use amcinonide experience no side effects at all, but some may notice that skin becomes dry or itchy in the application area. These side effects are minor and usually do not require medical attention, but if they become particularly persistent or bothersome you could consult your doctor.

Some side effects, although rare, are more serious and should be reported to a doctor immediately. These include:

  • Changes in skin color
  • Changes in skin appearance (unusual pimples, new stretch marks, abnormal hair growth)
  • Slow healing of the skin
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Signs of high blood sugar (confusion, lethargy, increased thirst and hunger, increase in urination, flushing, rapid breathing, fruity smell on breath)
  • Signs of Cushing's disease (weight gain in upper belly or back, rounded face, severe headache)
  • Signs of adrenal gland weakness (bad stomach, vomiting, dizziness or fainting, muscle weakness, lethargy, unusual mood changes, weight loss)

Dosage

The recommended dosage for amcinonide cream, lotion or ointment is a thin layer applied two to three times each day. This may vary depending on the severity of your skin condition and your medical history; always follow your doctor's instructions.

The area of application should be gently washed and patted dry before applying amcinonide cream. Ensure the skin is thoroughly dry before applying so that it can be successfully absorbed by the skin. Only a very thin layer of amcinonide is needed and it should be rubbed very gently into the skin.

Don't apply bandages or dressings over the top of the application area after applying amcinonide. Doing so could change the way that the medicine is absorbed by the skin and affect the way it works. Sometimes doctors may recommend that you apply dressings after applying the cream, but only do this if you have been directed to do so. You should also avoid applying makeup to the application area.

Always wash your hands after applying topical amcinonide either to you or a child, unless it has been prescribed for hand application. If this is the case, avoid putting your hands in your mouth or to your eyes or nose as it could cause irritation. Similarly, do not apply the cream to the underarms or genitals unless advised to do so by a doctor.

If you have missed a dose of amcinonide, apply it as soon as you remember, then continue with your normal dosing schedule. However, if it is close to your next application time, skip the missed dose and continue with your original application schedule. Do not apply two doses at one time and do not add an extra dose into your dosing schedule.

Interactions

Do not take amcinonide if you are also taking oral corticosteroids; doing so could increase the risk of side effects associated with this type of drug. Amcinonide cream may also be unsuitable to take with drugs which suppress the immune system, such as cyclosporine which is prescribed to people who have had an organ transplant. Make sure your doctor is aware of all other medications you're currently being prescribed, both topical and oral, in case of interactions. They may choose to prescribe alternative treatments or adjust dosages and administration instructions if the risk of harmful interactions is high.

Tell your doctor if you are using other topical, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to treat the symptoms of skin allergy or irritation, or for any other condition. Ingredients in OTC medicines may interact with those in amcinonide and cause unpleasant side effects or reduce the efficacy of amcinonide. Your doctor may advise that you stop using the OTC medicine while using amcinonide.

You should also check with your doctor before applying any other products to your skin, such as moisturizing lotions, perfumes and cleansers. These products could contain ingredients which might interact with amcinonide, or they may simply worsen your skin allergy or irritation. Your doctor may be able to recommend products which are gentle on the skin and which pose the lowest risk of side effects.

Warnings

If skin in the area mcinonide is applied to is infected or has broken skin, large sores or other injury, do not apply amcinonide without your doctor's approval. Applying the lotion to damaged skin could cause pain and it may worsen or increase the risk of side effects.

If the medicine should be applied on the face near the eyes, take care to avoid direct contact with the eyes, as it may cause or worsen glaucoma.

Medical interactions

People with Cushing's syndrome (adrenal gland disorder), diabetes, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or intracranial hypertension (pressure in the head) may not be able to use amcinonide. The medicine may make the conditions worse and could lead to health complications. Make sure your doctor knows of these conditions before you start using amcinonide. They may choose a different treatment for your skin allergy or irritation, or they may adjust the dosage to minimize complications.

Pediatric use

Studies have found that amcinonide is a relatively safe and effective treatment for children, but the medicine should be used with caution since it is a corticosteroid. Children may absorb higher amounts of the medicine through their skin than adults, which could lead to harmful side effects. The medicine could affect the growth of children or teens when used for extended periods. For this reason, follow the doctor's dosage instructions carefully. Do not use more than the recommended amount of the cream, and do not apply it more frequently than recommended. Your child may require growth checks or other assessments.

If administering topical amcinonide to a young child, avoid using tight-fitting plastic pants or diapers if the cream is applied to the diaper area. Doing so may cause more of the medicine to be absorbed into the skin than usual, which effectively increases the expected dosage and could lead to side effects. Ask your doctor for more advice on this if the cream will be applied to the diaper region.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Amcinonide cream is a pregnancy category C drug, which means it should be used with caution by pregnant women during all trimesters. Animal studies have demonstrated a risk to the fetus, but few human trials have been performed to assess the safety of the drug. For this reason, amcinonide should only be used if the benefits outweigh the potential risk to the fetus. It should only be used in small amounts for short periods of time and is not recommended for long-term use during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while using amcinonide cream, discuss the risks with your doctor.

It isn't clear whether amcinonide is excreted in human breast milk. Nursing mothers should discuss the potential risks with their doctor and assess whether the benefits of the drug outweigh potential risks. It may be preferable to avoid breastfeeding while using amcinonide cream.

Storage

Amcinonide cream should be stored in a closed container and kept at room temperature. It should not be exposed to moisture, heat or direct light, which means that it should not be kept in the bathroom. The cream should also be kept from freezing.

Keep amcinonide cream away from children and pets. It is usually safest to keep medicines like this up and away from the ground, so that they're not within easy reach of children or pets.

Do not retain outdated or expired amcinonide cream, or that which you no longer require. Instead, follow the disposal protocol recommended to you by your healthcare provider. Do not throw the cream in the trash unless your healthcare provider has confirmed that it is safe to do so.

Summary

Amcinonide is a topical drug which works to relieve irritation and rashes associated with skin conditions and allergies. It is a corticosteroid, which means that it works to inhibit the skin's inflammatory response to allergens and irritation. It can relieve itching, inflammation, redness, swelling and general discomfort. It is known in the US under the brand name Cyclocort.

One of the most crucial side effects to look out for when using amcinonide cream is an allergic reaction to the medicine. If you notice swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, tightness of the chest or wheezing, hives, rash or blisters, stop using the medicine immediately and consult your doctor.

Aside from allergic reaction, some people experience dryness or itchiness in the application area after using amcinonide. These symptoms do not usually require medical attention, but if they become particularly bothersome you may want to mention them to your doctor. Rarer, more serious side effects include changes to skin color, appearance or texture and symptoms of high blood sugar, Cushing's disease or adrenal gland weakness. People with Cushing's disease, diabetes, hyperglycemia or intracranial hypertension should be aware that amcinonide could make their conditions worse.

If amcinonide is prescribed to children, take care not to cover the application area with diapers or plastic pants as this could result in more of the medicine being absorbed by the skin than usual and may increase the risk of side effects.

The recommended dosage of amcinonide is a thin layer applied to the affected area two to three times daily. Bandages and dressings should not cover the application area unless a doctor has instructed to do so. The cream should not be applied around the eyes, underarms or genitals unless directed.

Resources
Last Reviewed:
December 10, 2017
Last Updated:
April 04, 2018