Synalar/Synalar 1 in 4/Synalar 1 in 10/Synalar C/Synalar N

  • You only need to use a small amount of this preparation. Apply it thinly just to the areas affected, and then massage it gently into the skin until it disappears.
  • Topical corticosteroids should not be used for long periods of time or on large areas of the body, especially in children.
  • Fluocinolone (unless combined with an antibacterial agent) should not be used on infected skin.

About fluocinolone

Type of medicine Topical corticosteroid
Used for Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema
Also called Synalar®
Available as Cream, gel, ointment

Fluocinolone is a topical corticosteroid (also referred to as a topical steroid). Topical steroids are used in addition to emollients (moisturisers) for treating inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. A topical steroid is used when patches of your skin condition flare up. It is not a cure for your condition, but it will help to relieve the symptoms of a flare-up by reducing inflammation, itching and redness.

There are three strengths of fluocinolone. Preparations containing 0.025% fluocinolone (Synalar®), which are potent topical steroids, preparations containing 0.00625% fluocinolone (Synalar 1 in 4 Dilution®), which are moderately potent and, the lowest strength which contains 0.0025% fluocinolone (Synalar 1 in 10 Dilution®), which is classed as a mild topical steroid. The higher strengths may be prescribed initially to control your symptoms if they are severe, and then as soon as your symptoms improve, the strength will be reduced.

Short courses of fluocinolone are also useful in the treatment of psoriasis. You will only have been prescribed this topical steroid for psoriasis if you have been seen by a skin specialist.

There are also fluocinolone preparations available which contain antibacterial agents. These are Synalar C® (fluocinolone with clioquinol) and Synalar N® (fluocinolone with neomycin). You may be prescribed one of these preparations for short-term use if your skin has become infected.

Before using fluocinolone

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using fluocinolone it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you have any areas of infected skin.
  • If you have rosacea or acne.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a skin preparation.

How to use fluocinolone

  • Before you start using this preparation, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about topical steroids and a full list of side-effects that you may experience from using them.
  • Your doctor will tell you how often to apply fluocinolone. It must not be applied more than twice a day, and once a day is often sufficient.
  • Do not use fluocinolone on any areas of open or infected skin unless you have a preparation which also contains an antibacterial (Synalar C® or Synalar N®). If you are using one of these preparations, use it regularly twice daily for one week only, unless you have been directed otherwise by your doctor.
  • The amount of topical steroid that you should apply is commonly measured by fingertip units (FTUs). One FTU is the amount of cream or ointment that is squeezed out along an adult's fingertip (that is, from the very end of the finger to the first crease in the finger). As a guide, one FTU is enough to cover an area twice the size of an adult hand. Your doctor will give you an idea of how many FTUs you will need to cover the area of your skin which is affected.
  • If you are using more than one topical corticosteroid, make sure you know how and where to use each one. If you are unsure, check with your doctor or ask your pharmacist for further advice.
  • After you have applied fluocinolone, wash your hands (unless your hands are the treated area).
  • If you are using fluocinolone for psoriasis, make sure you follow your doctor's instructions carefully. It should not be used for large areas of psoriasis or for long periods of time, as this can cause your symptoms to flare up afterwards.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • If you are using an emollient along with this preparation, apply the emollient first. Then wait 10-15 minutes before applying fluocinolone. This allows time for the emollient to be absorbed before the topical corticosteroid is applied. (Your skin should be moist but not slippery when you apply fluocinolone.)
  • Do not use this preparation on your face unless your doctor has said you should. If you have been told to use it on your face, be careful not to get any preparation near your eyes and do not use it for longer periods of time than you have been advised.
  • Unless advised to do so by your doctor, do not apply a bandage or dressing to the area being treated, as this will increase absorption of the preparation and increase the risk of side-effects.
  • Continue to use fluocinolone until the flare-up has gone and then stop it. A course of treatment for 7-14 days is often sufficient. If your symptoms have not improved after this time (or if they get worse), speak again with your doctor for further advice. Topical corticosteroids like fluocinolone should not be used for long periods of time or on large areas of the body, especially in children.
  • If you are using fluocinolone with clioquinol (Synalar C®), be careful not to let the preparation come into contact with your clothing, as it may stain.
  • Even after you have finished using topical steroids, continue to use your emollients every day. This will help to prevent a further flare-up.

Can fluocinolone cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. You can reduce the risk of side-effects from topical corticosteroids like fluocinolone, by applying the preparation thinly, no more than twice a day, and to the affected areas only.

Side-effects of fluocinolone What can I do if I experience this?
Thinning of your skin, striae (like stretch marks), bruising, discolouration, or thin spidery blood vessels Speak with your doctor if you notice any of these

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to fluocinolone, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store fluocinolone

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.