Fluocinonide (topical)

A high-potency glucocorticoid, Fluocinonide is usually prescribed to relieve itching, redness, or swelling that is caused by a skin problem.

Overview

Fluocinonide is a topical medication that is usually prescribed to relieve itching, redness, or swelling that is caused by a skin problem. It is a high-potency glucocorticoid, a type of corticosteroid which is used to depress the immune system. This helps the medication work against certain overactive immune responses such as excess inflammation.

Because Fluocinonide is very strong and can cause serious side effects if not used properly, it is only available with a doctor's prescription. Fluocinonide is available in several topical forms, such as an ointment, cream, gel, or solution. It is also sold as Lidex or Vanos in the United States.

Conditions Treated

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation

Type Of Medicine

  • Glucocorticoid
  • Corticosteroid

Side Effects

  • Mild Side Effects

Some patients who take Fluocinonide may experience some mild side effects in addition to the therapeutic effects for which the medication was prescribed. These side effects are a result of your body adjusting to the medication and do not usually require medical attention. They usually subside over the course of the treatment. If any of these side effects do not subside, become worse, or are bothersome to you, contact your doctor for assistance. Your doctor may be able to suggest some ways of treating or reducing these symptoms.

Some patients who take Fluocinonide may experience mild dermatological side effects such as:

  • Pimples, acne, or other blemishes on the skin
  • Softening of the texture of the skin
  • Lighter skin in areas that have been treated with Fluocinonide
  • Reddish purple lines appearing on the torso, groin, face, arms, or legs
  • Increased or new hair growth on the back, legs, arms, or forehead
  • Itching, burning, or pain in areas of skin which are covered in hair
  • Pus appearing at the root of hair on the body
  • Red blisters the size of a pinhead that burn or itch

Some patients who take Fluocinonide may experience side effects resembling a cold or flu, such as:

Serious Side Effects

Some patients who take Fluocinonide may experience more serious side effects in addition to the therapeutic effects for which the medication was prescribed. These side effects may lead to more serious health problems or may be symptoms of serious health problems which may have been triggered or exacerbated by the use of Fluocinonide. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor immediately. You will need medical attention in order to deal with these side effects.

Some patients taking Fluocinonide may experience dermatological side effects such as:

  • Irritation of the skin
  • Burning, dryness, blistering, crusting, or flaking of the skin
  • Severe redness, swelling, soreness, scaling, or severe itching of the skin
  • Scaly skin and redness around the mouth
  • Thin skin, weak skin, or a wasting away of the skin

Dosage

The dose and precise use of Fluocinonide, as well as the scheduling of the dose and the duration of your Fluocinonide regimen, are to be determined by your doctor depending on your condition and the strength of medication you will be using. The information described here is provided as a standard by the manufacturer. Your dose and usage may be different. Always follow your doctor's directions when using Fluocinonide, and do not use the medication more often than your doctor tells you to or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Check with your doctor before discontinuing the use of Fluocinonide or before changing your schedule of Fluocinonide use.

Patients using topical dosage forms of Fluocinonide such as an ointment, gel, cream, or solution for redness, itching, or swelling of the skin should apply Fluocinonide to the affected area of the skin from two times to four times per day. The schedule on which you will need to apply the Fluocinonide and the number of times per day you will need to apply it may vary. Check with your doctor for precise instructions.

Patients using a topical cream form of Fluocinonide for atopic dermatitis will need to apply Fluocinonide to the affected skin area once per day. The use of Fluocinonide for atopical dermatitis in children under the age of 12 is not recommended.

Patients using Fluocinonide for psoriasis will need to apply their topical form of Fluocinonide to the affected skin area once or twice per day. Check with your doctor for precise instructions. The use of Fluocinonide for psoriasis in children under the age of 12 is not recommended.

If you miss a dose of Fluocinonide, apply the missed dose to the affected area of skin as soon as you are able. If it is nearly time to apply your next dose of Fluocinonide, do not apply the missed dose. Wait until it is time to apply your next dose of Fluocinonide and then apply the normal dose. Check with your doctor for information about safe timing of Fluocinonide doses in case of a missed dose.

Interactions

Drug interactions can change the way drugs work in your body and may increase your risk of serious side effects from any drug you are taking. Keep a list with all drugs, supplements, and medications you take regularly, whether they have been prescribed to you by a medical professional or whether they are taken over the counter. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to help you identify possible interactions with drugs.

Fluocinonide can work to lower the immune system as part of its regular function. Drugs which lower the immune system, such as cyclosporine, may interact with Fluocinonide and further dampen your immune system. Check with your doctor before you begin to use Fluocinonide at the same time as cyclosporine.

Fluocinonide can interact with other corticosteroids taken by mouth or orally, such as prednisone. Check with your doctor before you use other corticosteroids and Fluocinonide at the same time.

Warnings

Progress

Patients using Fluocinonide will need to keep regular appointments with their doctor. This will allow your doctor to ensure that the medication is working correctly and to check your progress, as well as making sure that there are no unwanted side effects triggered by the medication. Your doctor may need to take laboratory tests to make sure your body's hormone levels remain within a normal range.

Do not use Fluocinonide for a period of more than 2 weeks unless this use has been approved by your doctor.

Proper Application

Before you begin applying Fluocinonide to the affected area of the skin, wash your hands with soap and water.

Apply Fluocinonide to the affected area. Make sure a thin layer of Fluocinonide is applied to the skin. Rub in the topical Fluocinonide gently until it has been absorbed by the skin.

Do not use occlusive bandages (bandages that do not let in air or water) on top of an application of Fluocinonide. Do not use any bandage or wrap on top of an application of Fluocinonide unless your doctor tells you to do so. If you are applying Fluocinonide to the skin of an infant, do not use plastic pants or tight-fitting diapers if they cover the area to which the Fluocinonide has been applied. Allow Fluocinonide to air dry as much as possible, and do not wear tight clothes on top of the Fluocinonide after you have applied it.

Skin Care

Fluocinonide is only for topical use on the skin. Do not apply Fluocinonide to mucous membranes such as the mouth, nose, eyes, or vaginal area. Do not apply Fluocinonide to the face, underarms, or on the groin area unless instructed to by your doctor. Do not apply Fluocinonide to areas on the skin that are open, such as areas with scrapes, cuts, or burns. Fluocinonide is not meant to treat severe burns. If Fluocinonide is applied to any of these areas or gets on any of these areas, rinse the medication off with water immediately.

While using Fluocinonide, do not cover the treated area unless your doctor has ordered you to do so. Do not wrap or bandage the treated area unless your doctor has ordered you to do so. This may increase the medication absorbed by your skin into your bloodstream, which may cause problems and unwanted side effects. Do not apply makeup or any other skin care products over the Fluocinonide or to areas you are treating with Fluocinonide.

Skin Adjustment

Fluocinonide may be harsh on some skin types. Some patients who apply Fluocinonide may experience a feeling of irritation, dryness, itching, or burning on the area where it is applied during the first few days of application. These side effects should subside and go away after the first few days as the patient's skin and body grows used to the medication and is able to adjust. If these side effects persist after several days or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. You may need to discontinue Fluocinonide or find another treatment.

Skin Infections

Fluocinonide may exacerbate the symptoms of some skin infections, or cause some skin infections to become worse over time. If redness, irritation, or swelling does not improve while using Fluocinonide, contact your doctor as soon as possible. You may need to stop using Fluocinonide or try another medication if this occurs.

Side Effects of Corticosteroid Overdose

Fluocinonide may occasionally leach into the bloodstream from the skin. This happens only rarely in patients, and is normally only seen in patients who use Fluocinonide for an extended period of time, patients who apply Fluocinonide over very large areas of the skin, or in children. Fluocinonide being absorbed into the bloodstream may trigger some side effects of an overdose of corticosteroid. Symptoms of an overdose of a corticosteroid include:

  • Extreme or unusual tiredness
  • Unusual headaches
  • Swelling of the feet or the ankles
  • Unusual or unexplained weight loss
  • Problems with vision (such as blurred vision or double vision)
  • Increased frequency or quantity of urination along with increased thirst

If you experience any of these side effects while using Fluocinonide, contact your doctor immediately,

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction to Fluocinonide is rare, but may occur in some patients. If you experience an allergic reaction to Fluocinonide or while taking Fluocinonide, seek medical attention immediately. An allergic reaction may turn into a life-threatening situation if not treated. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to Fluocinonide include:

  • A rash on the skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Itching or swelling of the face, throat, or tongue
  • Severe dizziness

Adrenal Gland

Patients who use Fluocinonide for an extended period of time, patients who use excessive amounts of Fluocinonide, and children who use Fluocinonide are at greater risk for developing problems in the adrenal gland. If you or your child develop any symptoms of adrenal gland problems while using Fluocinonide, contact your doctor immediately. Symptoms of adrenal gland malfunction that may be triggered by the overuse of Fluocinonide include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst or increased urination
  • Unusual irritability
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • An irregular, pounding, or fast heartbeat

Serious Skin Problems

The use of Fluocinonide can lead to more serious skin problems in a small number of patients. These skin problems may lead to more serious health problems or may show that the medication is not working properly. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the following while on Fluocinonide:

  • Stretch marks on the skin
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Acne or pimples
  • Inflamed hair follicles that appear as red bumps or white pimples, otherwise known as folliculitis

Storage

Fluocinonide should be stored in its original container, and kept away from areas that are damp or moist, such as in a bathroom.

Store Fluocinonide 0.1% cream between 59°F and 86°F. Store Fluocinonide 0.05% cream between 68°F and 77°F, roughly at room temperature. Do not freeze Fluocinonide cream.

Summary

Fluocinonide is a high-potency corticosteroid used to treat inflammation, swelling, and redness that results from certain skin conditions such as psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. Fluocinonide works by dampening the immune system, reducing overactive immune responses such as inflammation. It is available in several topical forms such as a gel, cream, ointment, or solution.

Fluocinonide should be applied to the skin one to four times per day, depending on the strength of the medication and the condition for which it is being prescribed. It is normally prescribed for a period of two weeks, and should not be used for more than two weeks without your doctor's approval.

It is important to wash your hands before and after applying Fluocinonide. Apply a thin layer of Fluocinonide to the skin that is affected, and rub it in gently. Most patients will not need to use bandages or other coverings on Fluocinonide. Using a bandage or other covering that does not allow air or water to escape may cause Fluocinonide to absorb into the bloodstream, which increases your risk of side effects.

Fluocinonide can cause irritation, itching, or dryness when it is first applied. If this does not go away after several days, contact your doctor. Some patients may also experience acne or pimples, lighter skin, reddish purple lines on the skin, excess hair growth, or pus near the roots of hair in the affected area. These side effects are not normally serious, but your doctor should be notified if these side effects become bothersome.

Some patients taking Fluocinonide may experience crusting, flaking, severe redness, soreness of the skin, or unusually thin or weak skin. If you experience these side effects while using Fluocinonide, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Fluocinonide may cause allergic side effects. If you experience a new rash, itching or swelling of the face, throat, or tongue, difficulty breathing, or dizziness while using Fluocinonide, seek medical assistance immediately.

Fluocinonide may leach into the bloodstream if used excessively, causing symptoms of corticosteroid overdose. If you experience extreme tiredness, headaches, swelling in the feet or ankles, unexplained weight loss, excess urination or thirst, or vision problems while using Fluocinonide, seek medical attention immediately.

Fluocinonide may cause adrenal gland malfunction in some patients, especially children, if used excessively. Symptoms of adrenal gland malfunction include blurred vision, increased thirst or urination, tiredness or weakness, irritability, and an irregular, fast, or pounding heartbeat. If you or your child experience these symptoms while using Fluocinonide, contact your doctor immediately.