Fluticasone propionate belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. These drugs help reduce inflammation.
Due to this effect, people can use some form of fluticasone propionate for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions, allergies, or asthma.
This article outlines what fluticasone propionate is, some of the conditions it treats, and how to use it. It also provides information on its safety, including potential side effects and interactions with other medications.
The drug comes in different forms intended for different uses. Some examples include those below.
Creams and ointments
A person can get fluticasone propionate in the form of a topical cream or ointment. There are different versions available, and they help alleviate the inflammation and itching associated with inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, contact dermatitis, and psoriasis.
A person can use the product for short periods of time to help treat inflammatory skin flare-ups. Cutivate is a brand-name version of fluticasone propionate cream.
Fluticasone propionate is also available as a nasal spray for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. With this condition, the inside of the nose becomes inflamed as a result of breathing in allergens, such as dust, mold, or pollen. The medication works by reducing irritation and inflammation inside the nasal cavity.
Fluticasone propionate nasal sprays are available over the counter and with a prescription. Both types are available in generic and brand-name versions. Flonase is a brand-name version of fluticasone propionate nasal spray.
A person can also get fluticasone propionate as an inhaled medication for the treatment of asthma symptoms. These symptoms may include:
As an inhaled medication, fluticasone propionate works by reducing the inflammation of the airways, allowing air to pass in and out of the lungs more easily.
Flovent HFA is a brand-name version of inhaled fluticasone propionate.
The side effects of fluticasone propionate can vary depending on the product and its method of use. Some side effects are more serious than others.
Mild side effects
In general, mild side effects of fluticasone propionate may include:
- skin flushing and irritation
- increased hair growth
- thinning of the skin
- mild asthma symptoms
- nausea or vomiting
- throat irritation
- changes in the voice
Serious side effects
Some more serious side effects may include:
Fluticasone propionate sprays and inhalants may interact with some other medications. These include:
- certain antibiotics, including clarithromycin and telithromycin
- certain antifungals, including itraconazole and ketoconazole
- antiretroviral medications, such as ritonavir and atazanavir
- the antidepressant nefazodone
The above list is not exhaustive. For this reason, a person should talk with a doctor or pharmacist about any medications or supplements that they are taking before using a fluticasone propionate medication.
Doctors generally consider fluticasone propionate safe for otherwise healthy adults who are not pregnant or breastfeeding.
Long-term use safety risks
If a person uses the Cutivate ointment for a long time, they may develop problems with their adrenal glands. The risk of this is higher if they use other medications that also contain corticosteroids.
Using Cutivate for long periods of time or on large skin surfaces can also increase the risk of developing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis suppression. This condition involves the suppression of the immune system, which is typically reversible.
A person who uses the Flonase nasal spray or the Flovent inhaler should also know that there is a risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts. They should speak with a doctor if they experience any concerning eye symptoms.
A person should talk with a doctor about the potential benefits and risks of taking a particular medication. Anyone who needs to take a medication for an extended period of time should work closely with a doctor to determine the lowest effective dosage.
Risk of overdose
It is possible to overdose on or have toxicity with several fluticasone propionate products, including the nasal spray and the inhaler. There is no risk of overdose with the topical ointment.
People should always take the exact dosage their doctor prescribes or the dosage that the medication packet recommends in order to prevent toxicity.
When using a medication that contains fluticasone propionate, a person should follow the instructions of their doctor or pharmacist regarding the dosage and when to take the medication.
Below is some general information on how to use different fluticasone propionate medications.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends against the use of Cutivate in children due to a lack of information about its safety and effectiveness in this age group.
Adults with an inflammatory skin condition should apply a thin layer of the cream to the affected skin twice daily as necessary. After applying the cream, they should wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water.
The FDA provides the following instructions for the use of Flonase nasal spray:
- Adults: Spray two sprays into each nostril once per day.
- Children aged 4 years or older and adolescents: Spray one spray into each nostril once per day.
- Children under 4 years of age: Flonase is not suitable for this age group.
Flovent HFA is not suitable for children under 4 years of age. For all other age groups, the FDA recommends a starting dose of 88 micrograms twice daily.
The exact dosage a doctor recommends will depend on the severity of the person’s asthma and whether or not they have previously taken any other type of asthma medication.
People who are otherwise healthy should be able to use fluticasone propionate medications safely. To ensure this, they should follow the instructions of a doctor or pharmacist with regard to dosage and timings.
The age at which children can use a fluticasone propionate medication differs according to medication types and brands. Parents and caregivers should check medication labels to ensure that their child is of a suitable age to receive the medication. If in doubt, they should ask a doctor for advice.
People who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should also talk with a doctor about the use of products that contain fluticasone propionate. The doctor will outline the potential benefits and risks of taking a particular medication.
Fluticasone propionate medications are not suitable for everyone. People with weakened immune systems or other chronic conditions should talk with a doctor about using fluticasone propionate.
A person should talk with a doctor if they are considering using a product that contains fluticasone propionate. The doctor can review the person’s medical history to help determine whether or not the product is likely to be safe and effective for them to use.
A person should also contact a doctor if they experience a continuation of their symptoms while using a fluticasone propionate medication. The doctor may be able to recommend an alternative medication or therapy.
Anyone who experiences side effects after using a particular medication should also contact a doctor. If the side effects are severe or potentially life threatening, the person should seek emergency medical treatment.
Fluticasone propionate is a corticosteroid medication that helps reduce inflammation. The medication is available in different forms for different uses. These uses include managing the symptoms of asthma and treating inflammatory skin conditions and allergic rhinitis.
A person should contact a doctor before they start taking a medication that contains fluticasone propionate. The doctor will review the person’s medical history to determine whether or not the medication is safe for them to take.
Anyone who experiences side effects or worsening symptoms while taking this type of medication should talk with a doctor. The doctor may recommend adjusting the dosage or switching to a different medication.