How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

This medication belongs to the family of medications called corticosteroids. It is used to treat skin rashes that are inflamed, itchy, or caused by allergies. It should not be used to treat skin rashes that have become infected. It works by reducing inflammation of the skin.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are being given this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each g of cream contains fluocinonide 0.5 mg (0.05%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: 1, 2, 6-hexanetriol, citric acid, glycerin, polyethylene glycols, propylene glycol, and stearyl alcohol.

Each g of gel contains fluocinonide 0.5 mg (0.05%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: carbomer 940, edetate disodium, propylene glycol, propyl gallate, purified water, and sodium hydroxide.

Each g of ointment contains fluocinonide 0.5 mg (0.05%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: glyceryl monostearate, propylene carbonate, propylene glycol, white petrolatum, and white wax.

How should I use this medication?

Gently apply a small amount onto the affected area 2 to 4 times daily and rub it in well, as needed or as directed by the doctor. This product is not normally used on sensitive skin areas (e.g., face, underarms, or groin) unless specified by the doctor. Do not cover the area with dressings unless instructed to do so by your doctor.

Be careful when applying this product on lesions close to the eye. Severe irritation is possible if the medication contacts the eye. Should this occur, immediately flush the eye with lots of water.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Fluocinonide topical should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to fluocinonide or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • has untreated bacterial, tubercular, fungal, or most viral lesions of the skin (including herpes simplex, vaccinia, and chickenpox)

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • burning, irritation, itching, or redness of skin (usually mild and temporary)
  • change in skin pigmentation
  • dry, flaking skin
  • excessive hair growth over body
  • heat rash
  • increased redness or scaling of skin sores (usually mild and temporary)
  • skin rash (usually mild and temporary)
  • skin redness
  • thick, leathery skin
  • wet or soggy feeling to skin

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • acne-like rash
  • lack of healing of skin condition
  • painful, red or itchy, pus-containing blisters in hair follicles
  • prickling, tingling skin sensation
  • raised, dark red, wart-like spots on skin, especially when used on the face
  • rash on skin around mouth
  • scarring
  • skin infection
  • sore, itching, oozing blisters
  • spider veins
  • stretch marks
  • symptoms of high levels of corticosteroids in the blood (e.g., rounded face, weight gain, stretch marks, severe fatigue, muscle weakness, headache)
  • symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g., frequent urination, increased thirst, excessive eating, unexplained weight loss, poor wound healing, infections, fruity breath odour)
  • thinning of skin with easy bruising

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., severe rash, hives, swollen face or throat, or difficulty breathing)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Adrenal gland problems: On rare occasions, particularly when this medication is being applied to large areas of the body or for long periods of time, fluocinonide may affect how your adrenal glands work. Your doctor may monitor your adrenal gland condition especially if you have experienced stress such as surgery, injury, or severe infection.

Eyes: Avoid using this medication close to the eyes or on the eyelids. Getting the medication in the eye can increase the risk of increased eye pressure, glaucoma, cataracts, or infection. If you experience eye symptoms such as blurred vision or eye pain, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Infection: You may experience a secondary infection while using a topical (skin-applied) corticosteroid. If this is the case, contact your doctor for instruction regarding treatment.

Internal absorption: Significant internal absorption may result when steroids are applied over large areas of the body. To minimize this possibility when you will be using this medication over a long period, your doctor may instruct you to periodically interrupt treatment or to treat one area of the body at a time.

Liver function:  Decreased liver function or liver disease can cause corticosteroids to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Medical conditions: If you have stasis dermatitis or another skin disease associated with impaired circulation, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Medical treatment: Inform all your doctors that you have used a corticosteroid.

Response to treatment: If your skin condition does not improve within a few days to a week, contact your doctor.

Thinning of skin: Prolonged use of topical corticosteroid products may produce thinning of the skin and of tissues under it. If this is noticed, call your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: Corticosteroids such as fluocinonide may pass into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children. Children are more likely to experience decreased adrenal gland function with the use of topical fluocinonide.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between fluocinonide topical and any of the following:

  • aldesleukin
  • other topical medications that contain corticosteroids or that have irritating effects

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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