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

Fluticasone topical is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and is no longer available under any brand names. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

Fluticasone topical belongs to the class of medications called corticosteroids. It is used to reduce the redness, itching, and swelling of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking 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 take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Cutivate is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada and is no longer available under any brand names. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.

How should I use this medication?

This medication is usually applied once or twice daily or according to your doctor's instructions. Apply enough medication to completely cover the affected area with a thin film. Rub it in gently.

Many things can affect the dose of 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 taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to apply this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. 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 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?

Do not use this medication if you:

  • are allergic to fluticasone or any ingredients of this medication
  • have acne vulgaris (inflammatory outbreak affecting the face, upper back, and chest consisting of blackheads, cysts, papules, and pustules)
  • have inflammation of the skin around the mouth
  • have itching of the anus or genitals
  • have rosacea (red pus-containing lesions affecting the nose, forehead, and cheeks)
  • have skin infections (e.g., cold sores, herpes simplex, chickenpox, impetigo, athletes foot, ring worm, thrush etc.)

Do not give this medication to children under 12 years of age or children with skin lesions caused by fungi or bacteria, including dermatitis and diaper rash.

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.

  • dry skin
  • itchy skin
  • numb fingers

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

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

  • blackheads, small inflamed elevations, and pus containing blisters affecting the face, upper back, and chest
  • burning
  • expansion of surface blood vessels
  • inflammation of hair follicles
  • irregular areas of skin that look like bands, stripes, or lines
  • lack of skin color
  • redness around the mouth
  • severe itching, swelling, or dryness of skin
  • skin irritation
  • skin thinning
  • vesicles, pustules, and yellow crusts on skin (impetigo)

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

  • symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (such as difficulty breathing and tightness of chest; swelling of face or throat; skin lumps, rash or hives)

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.

Absorption: If you apply fluticasone topical to a large body area, ask your doctor whether you need any medical tests to check whether too much medication is being absorbed into your bloodstream.

Airtight dressings: Do not use fluticasone topical under airtight dressings, as this increases the risk of medication being absorbed into the bloodstream.

Eyes: If you are using fluticasone topical on your eyelids, make sure that it does not enter your eyes, as this can cause glaucoma or eye irritation. If the medication does get into your eyes, flush with plenty of water.

Formaldehyde: Fluticasone topical contains a non-medicinal ingredient that releases formaldehyde traces. You should avoid using fluticasone topical if you are allergic to formaldehyde.

Prolonged use on face: Fluticasone may cause face skin to thin more than the other areas. Therefore, you should avoid applying fluticasone topical to face for a long period of time when treating conditions such as psoriasis, red lesions over the cheeks and nose bridge, and severe eczema.

Skin infection: If skin infections (e.g., cold sores, herpes simplex, chickenpox, impetigo, athlete's foot, ring worm, thrush) are present or develop, contact your doctor for treatment. If you do not recover promptly then you should stop using fluticasone topical cream until the infection has been treated.

Skin irritation: If you develop irritation, stop using fluticasone topical and contact your doctor.

Use in psoriasis: If you are using fluticasone topical for psoriasis, you should let your doctor review your progress regularly, since such treatment needs careful supervision.

Pregnancy: Fluticasone topical should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Topical corticosteroids should not be used by pregnant women over large areas of the body, in large amounts, or for prolonged periods of time. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if fluticasone topical passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are using this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: Children may be more likely to experience the side effects if they use large amounts of this class of medication for long periods of time (e.g., slowing down of growth, delayed weight gain). The use of this medication by children should be limited to the smallest amount that will be effective. Discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of the use of this medication by children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that 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. 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.