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Systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids can produce reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression with the potential for glucocorticosteroid insufficiency after withdrawal from treatment. Manifestations of Cushing's syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria can also be produced in some patients by systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids while on treatment.
Patients applying a topical steroid to a large surface area or to areas under occlusion should be evaluated periodically for evidence of HPA axis suppression. This may be done by using the ACTH stimulation, A.M. plasma cortisol, and urinary free cortisol tests.
If HPA axis suppression is noted, an attempt should be made to withdraw the drug, to reduce the frequency of application, or to substitute a less potent corticosteroid. Recovery of HPA axis function is generally prompt upon discontinuation of topical corticosteroids. Infrequently, signs and symptoms of glucocorticosteroid insufficiency may occur, requiring supplemental systemic corticosteroids. For information on systemic supplementation, see prescribing information for those products.
Pediatric patients may be more susceptible to systemic toxicity from equivalent doses due to their larger skin surface to body mass ratios (see PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use).
Fluticasone propionate ointment, 0.005% may cause local cutaneous adverse reactions (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).
If irritation develops, CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) should be discontinued and appropriate therapy instituted. Allergic contact dermatitis with corticosteroids is usually diagnosed by observing failure to heal rather than noting a clinical exacerbation as with most topical products not containing corticosteroids. Such an observation should be corroborated with appropriate diagnostic patch testing.
If concomitant skin infections are present or develop, an appropriate antifungal or antibacterial agent should be used. If a favorable response does not occur promptly, use of CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) should be discontinued until the infection has been adequately controlled.
CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) should not be used in the presence of preexisting skin atrophy and should not be used where infection is present at the treatment site. CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) should not be used in the treatment of rosacea and perioral dermatitis.
The following tests may be helpful in evaluating patients for HPA axis suppression:
ACTH stimulation test
A.M. plasma cortisol test
Urinary free cortisol test
A concentrated fluticasone propionate ointment, 0.05% (10 times that of the marketed fluticasone propionate ointment, 0.005%) suppressed 24-hour urinary free cortisol levels in 2 of 6 patients when used at a dose of 30 g/day for a week in patients with psoriasis or atopic eczema. No suppression of A.M. plasma cortisol was observed. In a second study of the same concentrated formulation of fluticasone propionate ointment, 0.05%, depression of A.M. plasma cortisol levels was noted in 2 of 8 normal volunteers when applied at doses of 50 g/day for 21 days. Morning plasma levels returned to normal levels within 4 days upon discontinuation of fluticasone propionate. In this study there was no corresponding decrease in 24-hour urinary free cortisol levels.
In a study of 35 pediatric patients treated with fluticasone propionate ointment 0.005% for atopic dermatitis over at least 35% of body surface area, subnormal adrenal function was observed with cosyntropin stimulation testing at the end of 3 to 4 weeks of treatment in 4 patients who had normal testing prior to treatment. It is not known if these patients had recovery of adrenal function because follow-up testing was not performed (see PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use, and ADVERSE REACTIONS). Adrenal suppression was indicated by either a ≤ 5 mcg/dL pre-stimulation cortisol, or a cosyntropin post-stimulation cortisol ≤ 18 mcg/dL, and/or an increase of < 7 mcg/dL from the baseline cortisol level.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, and Impairment of Fertility
Two 18-month studies were performed in mice to evaluate the carcinogenic potential of fluticasone propionate when given topically (as an 0.05% ointment) and orally. No evidence of carcinogenicity was found in either study.
Fluticasone propionate was not mutagenic in the standard Ames test, E. coli fluctuation test, S. cerevisiaegene conversion test, or Chinese Hamster ovarian cell assay. It was not clastogenic in mouse micronucleus or cultured human lymphocyte tests.
In a fertility and general reproductive performance study in rats, fluticasone propionate administered subcutaneously to females at up to 50 mcg/kg per day and to males at up to 100 mcg/kg per day (later reduced to 50 mcg/kg per day) had no effect upon mating performance or fertility. These doses are approximately 150 and 300 times, respectively, the human systemic exposure following use of the recommended human topical dose of fluticasone propionate ointment, 0.005%, assuming human percutaneous absorption of approximately 3% and the use in a 70-kg person of 15 g/day.
Teratogenic Effects: Pregnancy Category C. Corticosteroids have been shown to be teratogenic in laboratory animals when administered systemically at relatively low dosage levels. Some corticosteroids have been shown to be teratogenic after dermal application in laboratory animals. Teratology studies in the mouse demonstrated fluticasone propionate to be teratogenic (cleft palate) when administered subcutaneously in doses of 45 mcg/kg per day and 150 mcg/kg per day. This dose is approximately 140 and 450 times, respectively, the human topical dose of fluticasone propionate ointment, 0.005%. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Systemically administered corticosteroids appear in human milk and could suppress growth, interfere with endogenous corticosteroid production, or cause other untoward effects. It is not known whether topical administration of corticosteroids could result in sufficient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) is administered to a nursing woman.
Use of CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) in pediatric patients is not recommended. In a study of 35 pediatric patients treated with fluticasone propionate ointment 0.005% for atopic dermatitis over at least 35% of body surface area, subnormal adrenal function was observed with cosyntropin stimulation testing at the end of 3 to 4 weeks of treatment in 4 patients who had normal testing prior to treatment. It is not known if these patients had recovery of adrenal function because follow-up testing was not performed (see PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use, and ADVERSE REACTIONS). The decreased responsiveness to cosyntropin testing was not correlated to age of patient, amount of fluticasone propionate ointment used, or serum levels of fluticasone propionate. Plasma fluticasone propionate were not performed in a six-month old patient who demonstrated an abnormal response to cosyntropin stimulation testing.
Pediatric patients may demonstrate greater susceptibility to topical corticosteroid-induced HPA axis suppression and Cushing's syndrome than mature patients because of a larger skin surface to body weight ratio.
HPA axis suppression, Cushing's syndrome, linear growth retardation, delayed weight gain, and intracranial hypertension have been reported in pediatric patients receiving topical corticosteroids. Manifestations of adrenal suppression in pediatric patients include low plasma cortisol levels and an absence of response to ACTH stimulation.
Manifestations of intracranial hypertension include bulging fontanelles, headaches, and bilateral papilledema.
A limited number of patients above 65 years of age (n = 203) have been treated with CUTIVATE Ointment (fluticasone propionate ointment) in US and non-US clinical trials. While the number of patients is too small to permit separate analysis of efficacy and safety, the adverse reactions reported in this population were similar to those reported by younger patients. Based on available data, no adjustment of dosage of CUTIVATE in geriatric patients is warranted.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/29/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Cutivate Ointment Information
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