Meds and you

27 September 2013

Fluticasone for topical application

Fluticasone is a cortico-steroid. Cortico-steroids are drugs that have an anti-inflammatory action.


Fluticasone is the active ingredient of Cutivate cream (Nappi code: 809977-001, 028) & Cutivate ointment (Nappi code: 809985-004, 012).

General information
Fluticasone is a cortico-steroid. Cortico-steroids are drugs that have an anti-inflammatory action and are used to treat the itching, inflammation and swelling associated with some allergic reactions.

In South Africa fluticasone is registered for the treatment of pruritus, or itchy skin, and other inflammatory skin conditions responsive to corticosteroid treatment, including eczema.

For this medication to be effective it has to be taken regularly, even if you do not notice an immediate effect. It should however only be used for short periods of time.

Fluticasone should not be applied to viral, fungal or bacterial skin infections, and the site of application should never be covered with a dressing unless you are specifically told to do so.

Prolonged use or application to large areas may cause systemic absorption of the drug which may lead to serious side effects.

How does fluticasone work?
Fluticasone prevents and reduces inflammation of the skin and also reduces its response to surface allergens.

Fast facts
Drug schedule: schedule 4
Available as: fluticasone is available as cream and ointment
What does it do? Fluticasone symptomatically treats inflammatory skin conditions including eczema.
Overdose risk: medium
Dependence risk: low
Is fluticasone available as a generic? no
Is fluticasone available on prescription only? yes

User information
Stopping this medicine: it is advised not to discontinue treatment before the recommended course has been completed.
Prolonged use: side effects may develop with long-term use and it should preferably be avoided. Those patients taking it for long periods of time may need regular medical examinations.

Special precautions
Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have been diagnosed with rosacea, a skin condition characterised by inflamed, red, oily, acne-prone areas
  • you have acne

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.
Infants and children: this medication should only be used as directed, and treatment should be for short periods of time only.
The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.
Driving and hazardous work: no special precautions need to be taken.
Alcohol: no special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Consult your doctor

Only if severe
In all cases
skin irritation


local burning


skin rash


thinning of skin



Drug interactions
Interactions at the recommended dosage are rare.

Overdose action
A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage
Apply as a thin layer to the affected area 1-2 times daily.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


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