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Generic name: fluocinonide topical [ FLOO-oh-SIN-oh-nide ]
Brand names: Fluocinonide-E, Fluovix, Vanos, Lidex, Licon, ... show all 8 brands
Drug class: Topical steroids

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Jun 14, 2023.

What is fluocinonide topical?

Fluocinonide is a high to super-high potency topical corticosteroid that may be used to reduce inflammation and itching caused by skin conditions that respond to topical corticosteroids, such as plaque psoriasis.

It is approved for adults and children over the age of 12 years and should not be used for more than two consecutive weeks. The potency varies depending on the product and its concentration.

Fluocinonide topical is available in a cream, gel, ointment, and solution.

Fluocinonide was first approved on June 30, 1971.


Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Fluocinonide is a highly potent, Class I or Class II corticosteroid that can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream and cause reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression with the potential for glucocorticosteroid insufficiency, including Cushing’s syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria. Do not use for longer than 2 weeks and do not exceed the recommended dose. Periodic monitoring for HPA suppression may be required.

Fluocinonide may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with your doctor.

Use care when using fluocinonide topical on a large part of the skin or where there are open wounds.

Do not use fluocinonide on cuts, scrapes, damaged skin, or on open wounds.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use fluocinonide topical if you are allergic to it. Do not apply to lesions that are exuding serum or to skin folds (where two areas of skin touch each other).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Topical corticosteroids can increase the glucose (sugar) levels in your blood or urine. Tell your doctor if you have diabetes.

Children are more susceptible to systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids. Fluocinonide topical is not approved for use by anyone younger than 12 years old.

It is not known whether fluocinonide topical will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. If you are instructed to use fluocinonide topical use only a small amount for the shortest time possible.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. If you are instructed to use fluocinonide topical, use only a small amount for the shortest time possible. Do not apply to the breasts.

How should I use fluocinonide topical?

Use fluocinonide exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Do not take it by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not use on open wounds or sunburned, windburned, dry, or irritated skin. Rinse with water if this medicine gets in your eyes or mouth.

Wash your hands before and after using fluocinonide, unless you are using this medicine to treat the skin on your hands.

Apply a thin layer of the medicine to the affected skin and rub it in gently. Do not apply fluocinonide over a large area of skin unless your doctor has told you to.

Do not cover the treated skin area with a bandage or other covering unless your doctor tells you to. Covering treated areas can increase the amount of medicine absorbed through your skin and may cause harmful effects.

Stop using fluocinonide and call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment, or if they get worse.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not apply two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

High doses or long-term use of fluocinonide topical can lead to thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex.

What should I avoid while using fluocinonide topical?

What are the side effects of fluocinonide topical?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to fluocinonide topical such as hives; difficulty breathing; or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

Common fluocinonide topical side effects may include:

Other side effects that may occur with topical corticosteroids include:

Topical corticosteroids can cause reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression with the potential for glucocorticosteroid insufficiency.

If you develop a skin infection while using fluocinonide topical your doctor may give you an antimicrobial cream to use as well. If this does not resolve the infection, your doctor may discontinue the tape until the infection has cleared.

If irritation develops, stop using fluocinonide topical.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect fluocinonide topical?

Fluocinonide topical is unlikely to interact with other medications you may take. But you should not use it with other topical or oral corticosteroids, because they may have an additive effect.

Tell your healthcare providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.


Store at room temperature 15°C – 30°C (59°F – 86°F). Do not freeze.

Keep out of reach of children.

Popular FAQ

Topical corticosteroids ("steroids") like fluocinonide have been used to treat areas of hair loss in alopecia areata, an autoimmune skin condition that leads to patchy hair loss on the scalp. Some people with this condition will respond to high dose topical corticosteroids applied to the areas with hair loss. If you are experiencing hair loss, talk to your doctor for evaluation. Continue reading

Examples of substitutes that could be used in place of fluocinonide cream include: clobetasol, halobetasol or betamethasone, depending upon which strength of fluocinonide you are using. You will need to see your doctor, as all of these creams require a prescription. Continue reading

No, fluocinonide is not an antifungal cream. It is a potent topical corticosteroid (“steroid”) treatment used to treat skin inflammation (redness and swelling) and itching of conditions such as plaque psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema) or other steroid-responsive skin conditions. Continue reading

You should not use fluocinonide, a potent topical corticosteroid (“steroid”), on your skin for longer than 2 weeks unless directed to do so by your doctor. Fluocinonide is used on the skin to treat inflammation and itching caused by plaque psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema) or other skin conditions, such as allergies or rashes. Continue reading

Fluocinonide is a very potent topical steroid medicine used to treat skin inflammation and itching caused by plaque psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema) and other skin conditions. Fluocinonide can relieve symptoms such as pain, itching, redness, crusting, and scaling. It comes as a topical solution, cream, ointment or gel and is available as a generic product. Continue reading

Yes, fluocinonide is a type of steroid called a corticosteroid. It is used to treat the redness, scaling and itching caused by flare-ups of skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis in adults and children age 12 or older. Continue reading

No, fluocinonide is not an antibiotic, it is a high-potency steroid typically used to treat psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis. Sometimes these conditions cause significant skin irritation and itching. Frequent scratching can break the skin, and then a bacterial infection may develop. In this case, antibiotics may be necessary. Continue reading

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.