Cutivate cream/ointment (Fluticasone)
How does it work?
Cutivate cream and ointment both contain the active ingredient fluticasone propionate, which is a type of medicine called a topical corticosteroid.
Corticosteroids are medicines used for reducing inflammation. Inflammation of the skin happens as a result of allergy or irritation of the skin, and is caused by the release of various substances that are important in the immune system. These substances cause blood vessels to widen and result in the irritated area becoming red, swollen, itchy and painful, such as is seen in dermatitis or eczema.
When fluticasone is applied to the skin it works by acting inside the cells to decrease the release of these inflammatory substances. This reduces swelling, redness and itch.
Fluticasone is a potent corticosteroid that is applied to the skin to treat severe inflammatory skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis, that have not responded to milder steroids.
Cutivate ointment is more greasy than the cream. It is more suitable for very dry, scaly areas of skin, whereas moist or weepy skin is best treated with the cream.
What is it used for?
- Eczema of various types.
- Skin inflammation due to allergies or irritants (allergic contact dermatitis or irritant contact dermatitis).
- Inflammatory skin condition with greasy, red and scaly areas (seborrhoeic dermatitis).
- An eruption of hard nodules in the skin accompanied by intense itching (prurigo nodularis).
- Area of thickened itchy skin caused by rubbing and scratching (lichen simplex or neurodermatitis).
- Skin disorder causing a flat, itchy, violet rash, usually on the wrists, shins, lower back and genitals (lichen planus).
- Inflammatory skin disease known as discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE).
- Intense and widespread reddening of the skin (generalised erythroderma) in combination with oral or injected corticosteroids.
- Reactions to insect bites and stings.
How do I use it?
- This medicine should be applied thinly and evenly to the affected area(s) of skin once or twice a day. As soon as the condition starts to improve, you should use it less frequently, as directed by your doctor. Click here to see how much to use.
- If your doctor has advised you to use dressings with this medicine, the skin should be cleansed before applying the cream or ointment under a fresh dressing.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after applying this medicine, unless the hands are the area being treated.
- You should continue using this medicine for as long as your doctor has prescribed. However, if you are applying this medicine to a child's skin, it should preferably not be used for longer than 7 to 14 days at a time. Follow the instructions given by your doctor.
- Don't use this medicine more often or for longer than advised by your doctor. If your skin condition has not improved after two to four weeks of treatment you should consult your doctor.
- Don't apply your moisturisers to the same area of skin at the same time as this medicine. Try to leave at least 30 minutes between applying moisturisers and this medicine, as otherwise the moisturiser could dilute the corticosteroid and potentially make it less effective.
- Cutivate cream and ointment are for external use on the affected areas of skin only.
- You should never use Cutivate as a moisturiser.
- Avoid getting the cream or ointment in the eyes, or inside the mouth or nose. Rinse with cold water if accidental contact occurs.
- If corticosteroids are used long-term, on large areas of skin, raw skin, skin folds, or under airtight dressings (including children's nappies) they are absorbed into the body more. This increases the risk of local side effects such as skin thinning, and those on other parts of the body, such as a decrease in the production of natural steroid hormones by the adrenal glands. For this reason, continuous, long-term use of this medicine should be avoided wherever possible, particularly in children, on the face and on large areas of skin. You should only use airtight dressings over the affected area if instructed to by your doctor.
- If you think the area of skin you are treating has become infected you should stop using this medicine and consult your doctor.
Use with caution in
- Children (see above).
- Psoriasis. If you have been prescribed this medicine to treat psoriasis you should have regular check-ups with your doctor. This is because although corticosteroids may be useful for psoriasis in the short-term, they can sometimes make psoriasis worse, and may cause the condition to relapse into generalised pustular psoriasis after the treatment is stopped.
Not to be used in
- Children under three months old.
- Viral skin infections, such as chickenpox, shingles, cold sores, herpes simplex, warts or verrucas.
- Bacterial skin infections, such as impetigo.
- Fungal skin infections such as thrush, ringworm, athlete's foot.
- Acne vulgaris.
- Acne rosacea.
- Inflammatory rash around the mouth (perioral dermatitis).
- Widespread plaque psoriasis.
- Treating itchy skin around the genitals or anus.
- Treating itchy skin where there is no inflammation.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- This medicine should not be used during pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor. If it is prescribed by your doctor it should not be used on large areas of skin, underneath airtight dressings, or for prolonged periods of time. Consult your doctor for further information.
- This medicine should not be used during breastfeeding unless considered essential by your doctor. If it is prescribed by your doctor it should not be used on large areas of skin, underneath airtight dressings or for prolonged periods of time. If it is applied to the breasts it should be washed off carefully before breastfeeding and then reapplied afterwards.
- This medication is to be spread thinly and sparingly on the skin.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
- Skin irritation, eg redness, rash, itching or burning on application, or allergic inflammation of the skin (contact dermatitis). Stop using this medicine and consult your doctor if you think you have experienced a reaction or your skin condition appears to be getting worse.
- Spread or worsening of untreated infections.
- Reduced skin pigmentation.
- Stretch marks (striae).
- Thinning of the skin.
- Groupings of fine blood vessels becoming prominent under the skin (telangiectasia).
- Excessive hair growth (hypertrichosis).
- Prolonged use of this medicine on extensive areas of skin, broken or raw skin, skin folds or underneath airtight dressings may on very rare occasions result in enough corticosteroid being absorbed to have side effects on other parts of the body, for example a decrease in the production of natural hormones by the adrenal glands, or symptoms of Cushing's syndrome - see warning section above.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer.
For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
How can this medicine affect other medicines?
This medicine is not known to affect other medicines. However, as with all medicines, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines while using this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
If you are using other topical medicines or moisturisers on the same area of skin it is recommended that you leave several minutes between applying each product. This is to allow each product time to be absorbed and avoid them mixing on the skin.
If you apply moisturisers shortly before or after applying this medicine these can dilute the corticosteroid and potentially make it less effective. Try to apply your moisturisers at a different time of day, or at least 30 minutes before or after this one.
Other medicines containing the same active ingredient
There are currently no other skin products available in the UK that contain fluticasone propionate as the active ingredient.
As fluticasone reduces inflammation it is also found in various other medicines that are used to treat inflammatory conditions in other parts of the body. These include Flixotide inhalers for asthma and Flixonase nasal spray for hayfever.