Fluocinolone cream | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

fluocinolone, Topical cream

All Brands

  • Synalar
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for fluocinolone

Topical cream
1

Fluocinolone is used to treat skin symptoms such as itching, redness, or swelling. These symptoms can be caused by allergies or other skin problems.

2

Fluocinolone is available in five forms: shampoo, cream, ointment, solution, and oil. It’s a topical medication, which means it’s applied to the skin.

3

Fluocinolone cream is available as the brand-name drug Synalar. It’s also available in a generic form.

4

The more common side effects can include skin problems such as burning, itching, drying, cracking, and lightening of skin color.

5

Fluocinolone cream should only be used on the outside of the body. Avoid getting it in or near your eyes.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Adrenal insufficiency

Fluocinolone cream can cause adrenal insufficiency. With this condition, the adrenal glands don’t make enough steroid hormones. This typically occurs after you stop using this drug. Your risk of adrenal insufficiency increases if you use fluocinolone cream for a long period of time or over a large part of your body. Your doctor may stop your use of this medication if you have symptoms of this condition.

Cushing's syndrome

Fluocinolone cream is applied to the skin, but some of the medication can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. This can cause too much steroid to collect in your body, resulting in a condition called Cushing’s syndrome. To help prevent this condition, don’t cover your skin with airtight bandages. Also, avoid long-term use, and avoid using over large areas of skin unless directed by your doctor.

Skin infections

Use of fluocinolone cream raises your risk of skin infection. If you have a current infection or develop a new bacterial or fungal infection, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may prescribe an antibacterial or antifungal drug. If the infection does not go away, your doctor may stop your use of fluocinolone until the infection has healed.

Skin problems

Long-term use of fluocinolone cream may cause thinning of the skin and nearby tissues. Ask your doctor how long it’s safe for you to use this drug.

Drug features

Fluocinolone is a prescription drug. It comes in five forms: shampoo, solution, ointment, cream, and oil.

Fluocinolone cream is available as the brand-name drug Synalar. It’s also available in a generic form. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. 

Fluocinolone cream may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to use it with other medications.

Why it's used

Fluocinolone cream is used to treat skin symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling. These symptoms can be caused by allergies or other skin problems.

How it works

Fluocinolone cream belongs to a class of drugs called topical corticosteroids.

More Details

How it works

Fluocinolone cream belongs to a class of drugs called topical corticosteroids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Corticosteroids may work by reducing the body’s production of certain chemicals. These chemicals, called prostaglandins and leukotrienes, cause swelling and itching in the body.

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SECTION 2 of 5

fluocinolone Side Effects

Topical cream

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of fluocinolone cream include problems with the treated skin, such as:

  • drying or cracking

  • redness

  • irritation

  • acne

  • itching

  • burning

  • lightened skin color

f these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Severe skin rash. Symptoms can include:

    • red, itchy, irritated skin
  • Skin infections. Symptoms can include:

    • red, swollen skin
    • warmth
    • pain at treatment site
  • Cushing’s syndrome. Symptoms can include:

    • roundness of the face (known as moon face)
    • weight gain, especially around the midsection
    • hump on the back between your shoulders
    • pink or purple stretch marks on your stomach, thighs, arms, and chest 
  • Adrenal insufficiency. Symptoms can include:

    • tiredness
    • muscle weakness
    • weight loss
    • dizziness
    • fainting
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Fluocinolone cream doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

fluocinolone May Interact with Other Medications

Topical cream

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

To find out how fluocinolone cream might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with skin infections

If you have a current infection, tell your doctor right away. Your doctor may prescribe an antibacterial or antifungal medication. If the infection does not go away, your doctor may stop your use of fluocinolone cream until the infection has healed.

People with rosacea or perioral dermatitis

Don’t use fluocinolone cream to treat rosacea (facial redness that comes and goes). Also, don’t use it to treat perioral dermatitis (rash around the mouth).

Pregnant women

  1. Fluocinolone is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

It is not known if fluocinolone is passed into breast milk and causes side effects in a child who is breastfed.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For children

Children are at increased risk of side effects from use of fluocinolone cream.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms don’t improve or your condition gets worse.
  • You become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies

Fluocinolone cream can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • swelling of your lips, tongue, face, or throat
  • chest tightness
  • trouble breathing
  • itching 

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take fluocinolone (Dosage)

Topical cream

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Allergies and other skin problems

Generic: Fluocinolone

Form: Topical cream
Strengths: 0.025%, 0.01%

Brand: Synalar

Form: Topical cream
Strengths: 0.025%, 0.01%
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Apply a thin film of cream to the affected area 2–4 times per day.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)
  • There are no specific dosing recommendations for the use of fluocinolone cream in people younger than 18 years.
  • Fluocinolone cream should be used with caution in people younger than 18 years. They are at increased risk of side effects.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team
  • This drug should be used on the outside of your body only.
  • Avoid contact with your eyes.
  • Don’t use this medication on your face, genitals, rectal area, skin creases, or armpits. Fluocinolone cream may lead to thinning of your skin and tissues in those areas.
  • Don’t bandage, cover, or wrap the treated skin area unless directed by your doctor.

Fluocinolone cream comes with risks if you don’t use it as prescribed.

If you stop using the drug suddenly or don’t use it at all

Your symptoms, such as skin itching, redness, or swelling, may not improve or may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t use the drug on schedule

 

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely.

If you use too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of using too much of this drug can include:

  • severe skin rash
  • skin infections, with symptoms such as red, swollen skin
  • symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome, such as roundness of your face, weight gain, or a hump between your shoulders
  • symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, such as tiredness, muscle weakness, weight loss, dizziness, or fainting

If you think you’ve used too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Use your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, use only one dose. Never try to catch up by using two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your skin problems should improve.

Fluocinolone cream is used for short-term or long-term treatment.

The length of therapy depends on the condition being treated.

Store this drug carefully

  • Store fluocinolone cream at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Protect this medication from light.
  • Don’t freeze this medication.
  • Keep the cream container tightly closed.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

  • When applying the cream to hairy sites, part the hair to allow direct contact with the affected area.
  • Your doctor may ask you to cover the affected area with a bandage or a wrap after applying the medication. Only do this if your doctor tells you to.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor you for the following:

  • infections, with symptoms such as:
    • fever
    • headache
    • nausea or vomiting

Your doctor may also do blood or urine tests to check for Cushing’s syndrome or adrenal insufficiency. These tests may include a:

  • urinary free cortisol
  • ACTH stimulation test 

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does fluocinolone Cost?

Topical cream

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Lowest price for fluocinolone

CVS Pharmacy $23.47
Walmart $72.93
Sams Club $72.93
These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for fluocinolone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for fluocinolone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on December 22, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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