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What Is Fluocinonide?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Fluocinonide is a corticosteroid medication a doctor may recommend for topical use in patients with skin conditions. This medication will suppress inflammation and limit itching to keep the patient more comfortable. It is very potent and should not be used in the long term, as this can expose the patient to the risk of serious side effects. The drug is available by prescription only to ensure that it is used appropriately.

This drug comes in gel, cream, and ointment form. To apply it, the patient should wash the affected area with mild soap and pat it dry before applying a thin layer of medication. An applicator trowel can be helpful for this process. If the patient uses his bare hands, he should wash them thoroughly afterward to limit absorption of the medication through the skin. If the medication is necessary to treat a skin condition on the hands, it is important to let the hands rest while the medication soaks in, and to avoid touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.

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The medication will reduce itching, redness, and swelling associated with eczema and many other skin conditions. Some patients may develop worse symptoms in an adverse reaction to fluocinonide. These patients will need to try a different medication to manage their skin. There is also a risk of increased itching and skin thinning, particularly with long term fluocinonide use. Skin thinning is a common issue with potent topical steroids, and patients should talk about it with their doctors if they have a frequent need for such medications.

Patients with diabetes should discuss fluocinonide with their doctors, as it can raise blood glucose levels and may make it harder for them to manage their diabetes. The drug can also be dangerous in pregnant women, although studies on the safety of fluocinonide during pregnancy are still inconclusive. Because of its potency, doctors cannot recommend this medication for treatment of chronic skin problems, and these patients will need to pursue other options.

Use of fluocinonide while an active infection is occurring is not recommended. The medication can decrease immune strength and may make the patient more susceptible to complications. Patients who notice broken skin, strange discharges, or changes in skin color around the site where they use the medication should stop and consult a doctor. They may need to rest and allow the skin to recover before resuming fluocinonide therapy, or the drug may not be safe for use at all.

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