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What Is Fluocinolone Ointment?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated May 17, 2024
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Fluocinolone ointment is a medication that may be beneficial in treatment of certain skin conditions. Part of the corticosteroid group of medicines, fluocinolone can interact with the immune system to reduce symptoms associated with certain skin diseases. A typical regimen of fluocinolone ointment treatment involves application of the product onto the affected skin several times a day. Possible side effects of its use include skin irritation, a burning sensation or acne development.

Corticosteroids are drugs that mimic natural components of the immune system. Issues associated with skin conditions such as redness, itchiness and swelling are all produced by immune system mechanisms, and the corticosteroids dampen this response down. Scientists, as of 2011, do not yet know exactly how this result is achieved. As such, fluocinolone ointment, which is a corticosteroid, is not a cure for a condition, but rather a medication that temporarily controls the symptoms, or soothes the symptoms until the underlying cause is resolved.

The mode of action of the fluocinolone drug is not restricted to an individual skin condition, but instead has potentially beneficial effects on a variety of skin problems. Flaky skin, abnormal dryness and crusty breaks in the skin can all be soothed with medications like fluocinolone. The ointment form of the drug is especially useful for skin problems as it gets the medication directly to the affected area without having to get through the body like tablets, for example, have to. Other topical forms of fluocinolone include creams, shampoos and oils, which are specialized for use on various parts of the body.

As with all medications, it is possible to receive too high a dose from fluocinolone ointment. A typical treatment regimen with the product involves application of the ointment several times a day, for as long as indicated by the doctor's instructions. Applying too much, or even covering the ointment with a tight bandage, can increase the risk of side effects. Adverse effects associated with fluocinolone ointment are primarily restricted to the treated skin region.

Examples include irritation, temporary alteration of the skin color and itching. Due to the dampening effects on the immune system of the drug, use of fluocinolone ointment may also put the patient at higher risk of skin infections. In addition, topical corticosteroids in general can pass into the rest of the body through the skin, and cause other problems in the body. Pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, and people with diseases like cataracts or diabetes are at special risk from corticosteroids, so a doctor's advice should be sought before using the ointment.

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