Why is this medication prescribed?
Fluocinolone topical is used to treat the itching, redness, dryness, crusting, scaling, inflammation, and discomfort of various skin conditions, including psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form on some areas of the body and eczema (a skin disease that causes the skin to be dry and itchy and to sometimes develop red, scaly rashes). Fluocinolone is in a class of medications called corticosteroids. It works by activating natural substances in the skin to reduce swelling, redness, and itching.
How should this medicine be used?
Fluocinolone topical comes in ointment, cream, solution, shampoo, and oil in various strengths for use on the skin or scalp. Fluocinolone ointment, cream, solution, and oil are usually applied two to four times a day. Fluocinolone shampoo is usually applied once a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use fluocinolone topical exactly as directed. Do not apply more or less of it or apply it more often than prescribed by your doctor. Do not apply it to other areas of your body or wrap or use it to treat other skin conditions unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Your skin condition should improve during the first 2 weeks of your treatment. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve during this time.
To use fluocinolone topical, apply a small amount of the ointment, cream, solution, or oil to cover the affected area of skin with in a thin even film and rub it in gently.
To use the shampoo, shake the bottle well, apply a small amount of the medicine to the scalp, and use your fingers to form a lather. Leave the shampoo on your skin for 5 minutes and then rinse the shampoo out of your hair and off your body with plenty of water. Do not cover your head with a shower cap, bathing cap, or towel while the shampoo is on your scalp unless directed to do so by your doctor.
To use the ointment, cream, or solution on your scalp, part your hair, apply a small amount of the medicine on the affected area, and rub it in gently.
To use the oil on your scalp to treat psoriasis, wet your hair and scalp and apply a small amount of the oil to the scalp and rub it in gently. Cover your head with the shower cap supplied for at least 4 hours or overnight and then wash your hair as usual, making sure to rinse your hair thoroughly.
This medication is only for use on the skin or scalp. Do not let fluocinolone topical get into your eyes or mouth and do not swallow fluocinolone. Avoid use on the face, in the genital and rectal areas, and in skin creases and armpits unless directed by your doctor to use in these areas.
Do not wrap or bandage the treated area unless your doctor tells you that you should. Such use may increase side effects.
If you are using fluocinolone topical on a child's diaper area, do not use tight-fitting diapers or plastic pants. Such use may increase side effects.
Do not apply cosmetics or other skin preparations or products on the treated area without talking with your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using fluocinolone,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to fluocinolone, any other medications, peanuts, or any of the ingredients in fluocinolone topical products. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the following: other corticosteroid medications and other topical medications.
- tell your doctor if you have a skin infection or any other skin problems or have ever had diabetes or Cushing's syndrome (an abnormal condition that is caused by excess hormones [corticosteroids]).
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using fluocinolone topical, call your doctor immediately.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Fluocinolone topical may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- burning, itching, irritation, redness, or drying of the skin
- change in skin color
- bruising or shiny skin
- tiny red bumps or rash around the mouth
- small white or red bumps on the skin
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- severe skin rash
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- redness, swelling, or other signs of skin infection in the place where you applied fluocinolone
Children who use fluocinolone topical may have an increased risk of side effects including slowed growth and delayed weight gain. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of applying this medication to your child's skin.
Fluocinolone topical may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze it.
In case of emergency/overdose
If someone swallows fluocinolone topical, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Brand names of combination products
- Tri-Luma® (containing Fluocinolone, Hydroquinone, and Tretinoin)
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.