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

Diflucortolone belongs to the family of medications known as topical corticosteroids. It is used to reduce redness and to relieve inflammation and itching associated with skin conditions such as those caused by contact or allergic dermatitis (eczema), seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

Diflucortolone has an anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effect. Diflucortolone cream is usually used for weeping rashes, and the oily cream is used for most stages of allergic and inflamed skin disease. Diflucortolone ointment is usually used when the rash is dry and chronic.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are applying this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using 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?

Each gram of oil-in-water emulsion contains diflucortolone valerate 1 mg (0.1%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: 70% water, hydrocarbons (white petrolatum, paraffin), polyoxyl 40 stearate, stearyl alcohol, carbopol 934, disodium edentate, and methyl and propyl parabens as preservatives.

Oily Cream
Each gram of water-in-oil emulsion contains diflucortolone valerate 1 mg (0.1%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: 30% water, hydrocarbons (white petrolatum, paraffin), white wax, and dehymuls E. There is no preservative.

Each gram of single-phase fatty ointment contains diflucortolone valerate 1 mg (0.1%). Nonmedicinal ingredients: white petrolatum, paraffin, ceresine, and hydrogenated castor oil. There is no preservative.

How should I use this medication?

Apply a thin film to the affected areas 1 to 2 times daily, according to the doctor's instructions. After initial improvement, the dose is often reduced to once daily.

This medication should not be applied in or near the eyes. If contact with the eyes occurs, flush with plenty of water and contact your doctor. Do not use this medication under dressings that don't breathe, unless you are instructed to do so by your doctor.

Check with your doctor if the skin condition does not start to improve within a week, or if it seems to be getting worse.

Many things can affect the dose of a 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.

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, protect it from freezing, 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 diflucortolone or any ingredients of the medication
  • are allergic to other corticosteroids
  • have a skin reaction after a vaccination
  • have a skin infection caused by viruses, including herpes simplex, vaccinia, and varicella (chickenpox)
  • have tuberculosis of the skin
  • have untreated infected skin lesions caused by an infection with fungi or bacteria if no antifungal (for fungal infections) or antibacterial agent (for bacterial infections) is used at the same time
  • are applying it to treat acne, skin conditions around the mouth or rosacea
  • are using it to treat itchiness of the genital area
  • are treating itchiness without inflammation

Do not use this medication to treat skin conditions on children under 12 months of age.

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.

  • burning
  • dryness
  • itching
  • redness of skin
  • skin irritation not present before use of this medication (mild)
  • stinging

Although most of these 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:

  • acne or oily skin
  • painful, red or itchy, pus-containing blisters in hair follicles
  • reddish-purple lines (stretch marks)
  • skin colour changes
  • softening of the skin
  • unusual increase in hair growth

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

  • symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (such as swelling of the face or throat, hives, or difficulty breathing)

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: Prolonged use of this medication over large areas of the body or under dressings that don't breathe can cause diflucortolone to be absorbed into the bloodstream. This may result in side effects similar to those seen after taking a corticosteroid by mouth for long periods of time (e.g., depression, filling or rounding out of the face, increased blood pressure, irritability, loss of appetite, rapid weight gain or loss, stomach bloating, or swelling of feet or lower legs).

Allergy: Stop using this medication and contact your doctor immediately if you notice signs of an allergic reaction, such as increased irritation or itchiness.

Circulation problems: Poor circulation may increase the risk of developing infections or developing sensitivity to this medication. If you have poor circulation or leg ulcers because of poor circulation, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Long-term use: Long-term use of this medication may cause skin thinning, abnormal growth of facial hair, and acne. If these side effects occur, stop using this medication and contact your doctor immediately. If you do not notice improvement in your skin condition after 2 to 4 weeks, contact your doctor.

Proper use:  Diflucortolone should not be used over large areas with dressings that do not breathe or for prolonged periods of time, unless directed by your doctor. This medication should not be used in or near the eye or around the mouth area.

Thinning of skin: Prolonged use of topical corticosteroid products may produce thinning of the skin and of tissues under it. If you notice this, call your doctor.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. Contact your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking this medication.

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

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children. Children are more likely to experience absorption of topical corticosteroids and the side effects that occur with absorbed corticosteroids. This medication is not intended to be used for children less than 12 months of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between diflucortolone and any of the following:

  • aldesleukin
  • deferasirox
  • hyaluronidase
  • itraconazole
  • ritonavir
  • telaprevir

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. 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.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications 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.