Cutivate Side Effects

Generic Name: fluticasone topical

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of fluticasone topical. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Cutivate.

Not all side effects for Cutivate may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to fluticasone topical: topical application cream, topical application lotion, topical application ointment

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by fluticasone topical (the active ingredient contained in Cutivate). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking fluticasone topical:

More common
  • Dry skin
Less common
  • Breakdown of the skin
  • burning or stinging skin
  • hives or welts
  • irritation and redness of the skin
  • itching
  • numbness of the fingers
  • raised, dark red, or wart-like spots on the skin, especially when used on the face
  • skin rash
  • Pain
  • red rash with watery, yellow-colored, or pus filled blisters
  • skin rash, encrusted, scaly, and oozing
  • swelling
  • tenderness
  • thick yellow to honey-colored crusts
  • warmth on the skin
Incidence not known
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • backache
  • black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, or flaking of the skin
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • cough or hoarseness
  • dry mouth
  • facial hair growth in females
  • fever or chills
  • flushed, dry skin
  • fractures
  • fruit-like breath odor
  • full or round face, neck, or trunk
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst or urination
  • irritability
  • itching, scaling, severe redness, soreness, or swelling of the skin
  • loss of sexual desire or ability
  • lower back or side pain
  • menstrual irregularities
  • muscle wasting
  • nausea
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • redness and scaling around the mouth
  • shortness of breath
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
  • sugar in the urine
  • sweating
  • swelling of the throat
  • swollen glands
  • thinning of the skin with easy bruising, especially when used on the face or where the skin folds together (e.g. between the fingers)
  • tightness in the chest
  • troubled breathing
  • unexplained weight loss
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
  • wheezing

Some of the side effects that can occur with fluticasone topical may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common
  • Body aches or pain
  • change in hearing
  • common cold
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty with breathing
  • ear congestion
  • ear drainage
  • earache or pain in the ear
  • headache
  • loss of voice
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • Burning, itching, and pain in hairy areas, or pus at the root of the hair
  • stuffy nose
Incidence not known
  • Acne or pimples
  • burning and itching of the skin with pinhead-sized red blisters
  • increased hair growth on the forehead, back, arms, and legs
  • lightening of normal skin color
  • lightening of treated areas of dark skin
  • reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to fluticasone topical: topical cream, topical lotion, topical ointment


Skin atrophy may become evident within one to two months of use and is due to the inhibitory effect of corticosteroids on collagen formation. Skin on the face, axilla, and groin are most susceptible to the adverse long-term effects of topical corticosteroids. Use of high potency topical corticosteroids on these areas should be minimized or avoided.

Topical corticosteroid use may suppress local immune responses, rendering the skin more susceptible to infections. Folliculitis has occasionally been reported.

Perioral dermatitis or rosacea like dermatitis has occurred in patients treated with potent topical corticosteroids who are of seborrheic skin type. This condition may flare temporarily upon discontinuation of topical steroids, prompting patients to continue their use. If topical corticosteroids are discontinued, this flare and the initial dermatitis generally resolve over a few weeks.

Worsening of psoriasis has occurred in a few patients.[Ref]

Local adverse effects have included burning, itching, dryness, redness, or irritation, especially if applied to denuded skin. Also, acneiform eruptions, folliculitis, hypopigmentation, blisters, hypertrichosis, and infection have been reported. Long-term use of topical corticosteroids may result in skin atrophy and thinning, and the development of striae, telangiectasia, subcutaneous hemorrhage, and easy bruising and bleeding. Allergic contact dermatitis has been reported.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects have rarely included symptoms of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression. These effects are more likely when higher potency topical corticosteroids are used over extensive areas and when occlusive dressings are used. HPA axis suppression has been reported with topical fluticasone when used at doses of 30 grams per day on patients with diseased skin.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included lightheadedness in less than 1% of patients treated.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included burning and pruritus at the site of application. Postmarketing experience has included reports of erythema, edema/swelling, bleeding, and a lack of efficacy.[Ref]

In a controlled study, the incidence of burning and pruritus occurred in 6% of both fluticasone treated patients and those who received vehicle only.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Cutivate (fluticasone)." Glaxo Wellcome, Research Triangle Park, NC.

2. Venning VA "Fluticasone propionate sensitivity in a patient with contact allergy to multiple corticosteroids." Contact Dermatitis 33 (1995): 48-9

3. Howland WC "Fluticasone propionate: topical or systemic effects?" Clin Exp Allergy 26 ( Suppl (1996): 18-22

4. Johnson M "Fluticasone propionate: safety profile." Cutis 57 Suppl (1996): 10-2

5. Tschen EH, Bucko AD "Assessment of HPA-axis suppression with fluticasone cream 0.05% in patients with extensive psoriasis or eczema." Clin Drug Invest 16 (1998): 111-6

6. Olsen EA "Efficacy and safety of fluticasone propionate 0.005% ointment in the treatment of psoriasis." Cutis 57 Suppl (1996): 57-61

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