Fluocinonide cream is a prescription topical solution used to relieve symptoms and shorten recovery time of many common skin conditions. Doctors often prescribe the cream for eczema, poison ivy and oak exposure, and several other forms of dermatitis. Fluocinonide is a synthetic corticosteroid that works by stopping the immune system's inflammatory response and preventing further irritation. It is important for patients to follow their doctors' orders carefully when using the cream to achieve the best results and avoid potentially adverse side effects.
Topical corticosteroids like fluocinonide cream are commonly used in the treatment of skin disorders, though medical researchers are unsure exactly why such drugs have anti-inflammatory properties. When the cream is absorbed into the skin, it constricts nearby blood vessels and halts the distribution of inflammation-inducing chemical signals from the immune system. Steroid cream has proven very effective in relieving itching, redness, dryness, and localized swelling when it is used as directed by a physician.
Fluocinonide cream is usually prescribed in 0.05% strength solutions, referring to the amount of the active ingredient, pure fluocinonide, in the gel. It is a white, non-greasy cream that is quickly absorbed into the skin when it is rubbed in with the hands. Patients are usually instructed to wash their hands immediately after applying the cream and to avoid contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth. Dosage is different for each patient and condition, but doctors usually recommend using the cream two to four times a day for about two weeks or until skin rashes are resolved.
Most people who use fluocinonide cream as instructed do not experience negative side effects, though it is possible for dryness and itching to actually worsen with frequent use. Some people are allergic to fluocinonide or inactive ingredients, and may experience hives, swelling, and skin irritation that are not limited to the area of skin on which the cream was applied. A severe allergic reaction can cause airway constriction and, in some cases, lead to dizziness and a rapid heart rate. An individual who experiences any adverse reaction should stop using the cream and seek immediate medical care.
Doctors are very careful when prescribing fluocinonide cream for infants and young children due to the possibility of serious health complications. Corticosteroids can cause hormonal imbalances in young patients, leading to delays in growth, weight changes, and high blood pressure. Some children acquire a blood disorder called Cushing's syndrome after taking corticosteroids. Children who are prescribed corticosteroids typically need to receive regular checkups so their pediatricians can make sure they continue to develop normally.