Healthy Living

Is Lidex (Fluocinonide) Cream Really Effective in Treating Skin Infections?

Is Lidex (Fluocinonide) Cream Really Effective in Treating Skin Infections?

Key Takeaways

  • Lidex is a topical steroid cream with the generic name fluocinonide.
  • Lidex is prescribed by dermatologists to treat eczema and other skin infections.
  • Lidex topical cream can have its share of side effects and is strictly prohibited to use during pregnancy.

Lidex is a topical steroid cream with the generic name fluocinonide. Glucocorticoids are a type of steroid hormones that are generally involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Lidex belongs to the class of drugs called as corticosteroids. These are groups of medications that work in a similar way and are often used to treat similar issues. Lidex is used to treat a variety of skin conditions such as eczema, allergies, rash, and psoriasis.

Corticosteroids work by reducing the production of certain chemicals in the body. These chemicals are called as prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which cause swelling and itching.

Fluocinonide is nothing but a very powerful and intensive glucocorticoid. It is commonly known for its soothing and skin healing properties and is extensively popular as the go-to topical medication when suffering from eczema and seborrheic dermatitis. Fluocinonide can also heal rough and scaly patches in psoriasis.

When suffering from itching, redness, scaling, and irritable skin, you may have turned to Lidex cream, either due to your dermatologist's advice, or based on your internet research. Fluocinonide is the generic name of Lidex. Several other brands are also available with the same ingredient. They are in the form of topical creams and ointments with 0.1% fluocinonide. Often, the magical concoction for the treatment of skin infections has a dark side, owing to the sheer potency of glucocorticoids, particularly fluocinonide.

Before deciding if fluocinonide is beneficial or not, it is important to explore what causes skin infections. Skin infections are of many kinds, but the most prevalent ones are caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Several factors can make you susceptible to skin infections. An impaired immune system, wearing sweaty or damp clothes, as well as cuts and open wounds left untreated are some of the conditions that are prone to the development of skin infections.

Relief from Itchy Skin

Perhaps one of the most irritating and inconveniently distracting symptoms of skin infections is itchy skin. Atopic dermatitis or eczema, contact dermatitis (including rashes caused by poison oak and ivy), and xerotic dermatitis (dry skin) can also cause itching of the skin. It is a long-lasting skin problem. Medically termed as “pruritus”, itching of the skin can also be caused by other factors such as allergies, hives, pregnancy, and in rare cases, cancer. Several remedies are easily available to get relief from an itchy skin.

Some of the common remedies are:

  • Using lotions and moisturizers to combat skin dryness
  • A warm shower to soothe skin irritation
  • Switching to a milder bathing soap
  • Using sunscreen to avoid sunburn, which will only aggravate skin itching

Apart from these solutions, doctors may also prescribe medications like antihistamines to combat allergies and topical steroids like fluocinonide or Lidex to ease skin inflammation.

Precautions to Keep in Mind When Using Lidex

Caution must be observed when using topical steroids. For starters, never use topical steroids without your doctor's advice or prescription. Fluocinonide is extremely potent and can react harshly. The improper use of fluocinonide will only intensify your skin problem. It is also of the essence to remember that fluocinonide creams are to be used only in the affected areas, after ensuring that they are clean and dry.

Avoid applying the cream or ointment in your groin, underarms, and other sensitive regions in your body, unless specifically advised by your doctor. Moreover, make sure to discontinue its usage if you find that you are allergic to any one of the ingredients in the cream.

While using Lidex or fluocinonide creams, certain things must be kept in mind. They include:

  • Diligently following the instructions written in the pamphlet, which is enclosed with the cream. Refrain from recklessly using this strong ointment or cream.
  • Clean and dry the affected area where the cream would be applied.
  • After Lidex application on the affected area, rub it gently until it gets absorbed by your skin. Wash your hands thoroughly to make sure every last bit of the cream is scrubbed off. You do not want to be spreading the cream to unaffected areas of your body.
  • If the medication gets into your eyes, clean them immediately, or else, it may worsen or may cause glaucoma. This medication should not go inside the mouth or nose. Ensure to clean the affected areas with plenty of water.
  • Do not cover the treated areas with bandages or other things. Let your skin breathe.
  • Once you start using the cream, try to apply it at regular intervals as instructed to you by your dermatologist or doctor.
  • You can use this medication once daily if treating eczema. For the treatment of psoriasis, this cream can be applied once or twice daily. 

Side Effects Associated with Lidex Use

Lidex may be well-recommended by doctors, and even consider it as an effective medication to treat certain skin infections and conditions. This does not, under any circumstances, warrant the unsparing use of these topical steroid creams. The side effects are not just harmful and vexing, but can also cause long-term damages. If applied more than the prescribed amount, fluocinonide percolates through the skin, resulting in harmful effects. The risk is much higher in children since they can absorb higher amounts of fluocinonide compared to adults, and might experience severe side effects. It would also affect their growth and development. If the application is required for a longer duration, then the doctor would need to monitor the child's growth and development.

Some of the symptoms and visible side effects of inappropriate Lidex use are:

Rare side effects of Lidex include:

  • Urticaria or hives
  • Developing stretch marks in the skin
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Skin blisters
  • Skin discoloration (either increased or decreased)
  • Cushing's disease
  • Hirsutism (excessive hair growth)
  • Skin irritation 
  • Skin ulcers or sores
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Burning and flaking of the skin
  • Redness and scaling around the mouth
  • Loss of skin color
  • More abnormal hair growth 

The symptoms of Cushing's disease include:

  • Muscle weakness 
  • High blood pressure that could worsen over time
  • Increase in weight at the midsection and upper back
  • Moon face or roundness of the face
  • Inflammation of the hair follicles and glands
  • Feeling depressed or anxious
  • Slow-healing wounds, cuts, or bruises

It is rare to come across a very serious allergic reaction to this drug. However, just for safety measures, inform your doctor right away if you experience serious reactions such as trouble breathing, itching or swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, and severe dizziness.

Again, don't ignore these symptoms and contact your primary doctor or dermatologist immediately. Fluocinonide cream may be effective, but it is not the only solution to resolve all skin infections. The following precautions must be remembered to avoid further complications:

  • If you are pregnant, please do not use this cream. If you are using it and realize that you are pregnant, contact your doctor for a prescription of an alternative treatment. 
  • While breastfeeding, fluocinonide must be strictly avoided. 
  • Before using this cream, inform your doctor about any medical history such as certain skin conditions or any immune system problems. 
  • Be aware that fluocinonide creams can affect the growth of children, particularly in teenagers. Be cautious and make sure that you conduct regular growth checkups if your child is using the cream. If you notice that it is indeed impeding your child's regular and normal growth, discontinue its use.
  • The benefits of using steroid creams are not always the best choice for people who have diabetes. The usage of steroid creams can greatly affect the blood sugar levels in the body. It is advisable to revise the dosage of diabetes medications when using fluocinonide creams.
  • The side effects of using fluocinonide creams among children below 12 years of age have not been proven yet. Therefore, fluocinonide creams or ointments are best avoided if your child is still younger than 12 years old. 
  • Inform your doctor before using Lidex cream, if you are already taking certain prescription or nonprescription medicines, or having certain dietary supplements. 
  • If the person has any type of allergies whether its food, medicine, or other substances, doctors should be informed so they can keep it in mind before prescribing Lidex cream. 
  • Any recent vaccinations for measles, tuberculosis, chickenpox, or shingles should be relayed to the physician. 
  • This cream should not be used if the person is already suffering from another type of infection that needs treatment.
  • Before you undergo surgery or any type of treatment, ensure to inform your doctor that you have been using this medication.
  • If this cream is applied over the large areas of the body, it may at times result in significant internal absorption. To minimize such condition, your doctor may suggest that you periodically interrupt the course of treatment or may advise you to go in for one area of the body at a time.
  • If this medication is used for a longer duration, the corticosteroid product will produce thinning of the skin and the tissues under it. Call your doctor immediately if you notice such side effect.

Usage and Proper Storage

Make sure that you store fluocinonide creams or ointments properly to avoid altering its components. Store it at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees Celsius. Make sure that it is kept away from heat, moisture, and bright light. This medicine is available in the form of creams, ointments, or gels.

In cases when you miss a dose, apply the cream as soon as you remember it. However, if it is already time for your next dose, then it is better to skip the missed dose rather than applying it twice. Always ask your doctor about the things that can be done if you miss a dose and when you're not sure on what to do.

Always remember that topical medications such as Lidex should not be used to treat other skin problems other than the ones it has been prescribed for. Do not self-evaluate and jump to conclusions about your skin condition. Doing so might lead you to consider using fluocinonide creams or ointments unmonitored.

If for some reasons you do end up using this cream for a prolonged period, know your options. You can have a laboratory test done or certain medical tests such as an adrenal gland function test to gauge your progress and determine any of the symptoms or side effects. Make sure that you also inform your doctor about your medical history. Include all necessary and important details to have a sure diagnosis of your skin problem. Part of your medical history includes mentioning past topical steroid medications, especially if you have had fluocinonide creams in the past.

As it turns out, when used judiciously and meticulously, fluocinonide cream can indeed be a miracle cure for annoying skin infections and conditions. However, if fluocinonide creams or ointments are used excessively, much like any other product, you will experience adverse reactions.

Do not stop using this medicine without consulting the doctor since it would not provide the desired results. This medicine would turn harmful for people using it without an appropriate prescription.

This medicine should not also be disposed down the sink, in the toilet, or in the household garbage. Check with the pharmacist on how to properly discard the medicine once it is no longer needed or when it is already expired. 

Additional Safety Measures

  • Strictly, Lidex cream is only for external use. Do not get it in contact with your eyes. If contact is made with eyes, flush it immediately with clean water. Do not rub vigorously.
  • Apply the cream as recommended by the doctor. Do not apply or use more than the recommended dose.
  • Lidex cream should not be used for any other skin conditions without guidance from the doctor for later use.
  • If Lidex cream is applied to the diaper area of very young children, just apply small amounts. Ensure that the diaper or diaper pants are not that tight-fitting.
  • Check with your doctor if there are any vaccinations you would be receiving during the treatment course of Lidex cream.
  • Do not use Lidex cream if the person is having a skin condition called as "rosacea". Rosacea is facial redness that comes and goes away on its own. Also, this cream should not be used to treat perioral dermatitis.

Drug Interaction

Drug interactions between fluocinonide and other medications that contain corticosteroids are not for certain, and may or may not have irritating side effects. Proactively, inform your doctor about your medications. The doctor would then do the following measures:

  • He or she asks you to discontinue either one of the medicines
  • Keep everything as it is
  • Alter the dose of your medications 
  • Change one of your medications to something else

Without checking with your doctor, avoid stopping any of your medications even if you have learned about certain drug interactions with Lidex. The intake of caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and drugs can also affect certain medications. Always consult your doctor first about how your condition should be managed in cases of drug interactions.