Synalar Side Effects

Generic Name: fluocinolone topical

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug fluocinolone topical. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Synalar.

It is possible that some side effects of Synalar may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

For the Consumer

Applies to fluocinolone topical: topical application cream, topical application gel/jelly, topical application kit, topical application lotion, topical application oil, topical application ointment, topical application shampoo, topical application solution

As well as its needed effects, fluocinolone topical (the active ingredient contained in Synalar) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

If any of the following side effects occur while taking fluocinolone topical, check with your doctor immediately:

More common
  • Body aches or pain
  • congestion
  • cough
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • fever
  • headache
  • hoarseness
  • lightening of normal skin color
  • lightening of treated areas of dark skin
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • trouble swallowing
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • voice changes
Less common
  • Acne or pimples
  • accumulation of pus
  • blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
  • burning, itching, and pain in hairy areas, or pus at the root of the hair
  • burning and itching of the skin with pinhead-sized red blisters
  • change in hearing
  • cracked, dry, scaly skin
  • diarrhea
  • dry skin
  • earache or pain in the ear
  • ear drainage
  • flushing or redness of the skin
  • darkening of the skin
  • itching, scaling, severe redness, soreness, or swelling of the skin
  • itchy, raised, round, smooth, skin-colored bumps found on just one area of the body
  • ooze thick white fluid
  • raised, dark red, wart-like spots on skin, especially when used on the face
  • redness or swelling in the ear
  • skin irritation
  • skin rash, encrusted, scaly and oozing
  • spots on your skin resembling a blister or pimple
  • swelling
  • swollen, red, tender area of infection
  • thickened patches of the skin
  • vomiting
Incidence not known
  • Redness and scaling around the mouth
  • thinning, weakness, or wasting away of the skin

Some fluocinolone topical side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

Less common
  • Changes in skin color
  • shiny skin
Incidence not known
  • increased hair growth on the forehead, back, arms, and legs
  • reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
  • softening of the skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to fluocinolone topical: compounding powder, topical cream, topical kit, topical lotion, topical oil, topical ointment, topical shampoo, topical solution


Local side effects of fluocinolone have commonly included burning, itching, or irritation, especially when applied to denuded skin. Long-term use of topical corticosteroids has resulted in skin atrophy and thinning, and the development of striae, telangiectasia, subcutaneous hemorrhage, and easy bruising and bleeding. Allergic contact dermatitis has been occasionally reported.[Ref]

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, axillae, and groin appear to be most susceptible to the adverse, long-term effects of topical fluocinolone. Use of high potency topical corticosteroids on these areas should be minimized or avoided.

Topical corticosteroid use may inhibit local immune response 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 resolves over a few weeks.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects have included the rare suppression the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This suppression has been more likely when higher potency topical corticosteroids were used over extensive areas and when occlusive dressings were used.[Ref]


Ocular side effects have included the development of glaucoma in a young male who applied the steroid to his eyelids for a period of several years.[Ref]


1. Tirlapur VG, Rice-Oxley JM "Facial erythema and telangiectasia with synalar cream." Br J Clin Pract 35 (1981): 275-6

2. du Vivier A, Stoughton RB "Tachyphylaxis to the action of topically applied corticosteroids." Arch Dermatol 111 (1975): 581-3

3. Burry JN "Topical drug addiction: adverse effects of fluorinated corticosteroid creams and ointments." Med J Aust 1 (1973): 393-6

4. Jablonska S, Groniowska M, Dabroswki J "Comparative evaluation of skin atrophy in man induced by topical corticoids." Br J Dermatol 100 (1979): 193-206

5. Marsden CW "Fluocinolone acetonide 0.2 per cent cream--a co-operative clinical trial." Br J Dermatol 80 (1968): 614-7

6. "Product Information. Capex (fluocinolone topical)." Galderma Laboratories Inc, Fort Worth, TX.

7. Sneddon I "Adverse effect of topical fluorinated corticosteroids in rosacea." Br Med J 1 (1969): 671-3

8. Weber G "Perioral dermatitis, an important side-effect of corticosteroids." Dermatologica 152 Suppl (1976): 161-72

9. Pace WE "Topical corticosteroids." Can Med Assoc J 108 (1973): 11 passim

10. "Product Information. Synalar (fluocinolone topical)." Syntex Laboratories Inc, Palo Alto, CA.

11. Weber G "Rosacea-like dermatitis: contraindication or intolerance reaction to strong steroids." Br J Dermatol 86 (1972): 253-9

12. Cotterill JA "Perioral dermatitis." Br J Dermatol 101 (1979): 259-62

13. "Product Information. Derma-Smooth/FS (fluocinolone topical)." Hill Dermaceuticals Inc, Sanford, FL.

14. Reitamo S, Lauerma AI, Stubb S, Kayhko K, Visa K, Forstrom L "Delayed hypersensitivity to topical corticosteroids." J Am Acad Dermatol 14 (1986): 582-9

15. Pasricha JS, Gupta R "Contact sensitivity to betamethasone 17-valerate and fluocinolone acetonide." Contact Dermatitis 9 (1983): 330-1

16. Tang SC, Chan KC, Chow SP "Osteonecrosis of femoral head after topical steroid therapy." J R Coll Surg Edinb 31 (1986): 321-3

17. Cubey RB "Glaucoma following the application of corticosteroid to the skin of the eyelids." Br J Dermatol 95 (1976): 207-8

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