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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.



TRI-LUMA Cream contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening asthmatic episodes in susceptible individuals. If anaphylaxis, asthma or other clinically significant hypersensitivity reactions occur, institute appropriate therapy and discontinue TRI-LUMA. Allergic contact dermatitis may also occur [see Cutaneous Reactions].

Exogenous Ochronosis

TRI-LUMA Cream contains hydroquinone, which may produce exogenous ochronosis, a gradual blue-black darkening of the skin, the occurrence of which should prompt discontinuation of therapy. The majority of patients developing this condition are Black, but it may also occur in Caucasians and Hispanics.

Effects On Endocrine System

TRI-LUMA Cream contains the corticosteroid fluocinolone acetonide. Systemic absorption of topical corticosteroids can produce reversible hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis suppression with the potential for glucocorticosteroid insufficiency after withdrawal of treatment. Manifestations of Cushing's syndrome, hyperglycemia, and glucosuria can also be produced by systemic absorption of topical corticosteroid while on treatment. If HPA axis suppression is noted, the use of TRI-LUMA Cream should be discontinued. Recovery of HPA axis function generally occurs upon discontinuation of topical corticosteroids.

The ACTH or cosyntropin stimulation test may be helpful in evaluating patients for HPA axis suppression.

Cutaneous Reactions

Cutaneous hypersensitivity to the active ingredients of TRI-LUMA Cream has been reported in the literature. In a patch test study to determine sensitization potential in 221 healthy volunteers, three volunteers developed sensitivity reactions to TRI-LUMA Cream or its components.

TRI-LUMA Cream contains hydroquinone and tretinoin that may cause mild to moderate irritation. Local irritation, such as skin reddening, peeling, mild burning sensation, dryness, and pruritus may be expected at the site of application. Transient skin reddening or mild burning sensation does not preclude treatment. If a reaction suggests hypersensitivity or chemical irritation, the use of the medication should be discontinued.

Patients should avoid medicated or abrasive soaps and cleansers, soaps and cosmetics with drying effects, products with high concentrations of alcohol and astringents, and other irritants or keratolytic drugs while on TRI-LUMA Cream treatment. Patients are cautioned on concomitant use of medications that are known to be photosensitizing.

Patient Counseling Information

See FDA-approved patient labeling (PATIENT INFORMATION)

Inform patients of the following:

  • Advise patients to change to non-hormonal forms of birth control, if hormonal methods are used.
  • Use TRI-LUMA Cream as directed by the health care provider and do not use TRI-LUMA Cream for any disorder other than that for which it is prescribed.
  • Avoid exposure to sunlight, sunlamp, or ultraviolet light. Patients who are consistently exposed to sunlight or skin irritants either through their work environment or habits should exercise particular caution. Use sunscreen and protective covering (such as the use of a hat) over the treated areas. Sunscreen use is an essential aspect of melasma therapy, as even minimal sunlight sustains melanocytic activity.
  • Weather extremes, such as heat or cold, may be irritating to patients treated with TRI-LUMA Cream. Because of the drying effect of this medication, a moisturizer may be applied to the face in the morning after washing.
  • Keep TRI-LUMA Cream away from the eyes, nose, angles of the mouth, or open wounds because these areas are more sensitive to the irritant effect. If local irritation persists or becomes severe, discontinue application of the medication and consult your health care provider. Seek medical attention if you experience allergic contact dermatitis, blistering, crusting, and severe burning or swelling of the skin and irritation of the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If the medication is applied excessively, marked redness, peeling, or discomfort may occur.
  • Wash your hands after each application.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

When fluocinolone acetonide, hydroquinone, and tretinoin in fixed combinations equivalent to 10%, 50%, 100%, and 150% of the concentrations in the clinical formulation of TRI-LUMA Cream were applied topically to male and female CD-1 mice for up to 24 months at dosages approximating up to 50, 19,000, and 250 μg/kg/day, respectively (corresponding to dosages of 150, 57,000, and 750 μg/m²/day, respectively), no statistically significant changes in tumor incidence were observed.

When fluocinolone acetonide, hydroquinone, and tretinoin in fixed combinations equivalent to 10%, 25%, 50%, and 100% of the concentrations in the clinical formulation of TRI-LUMA Cream were applied topically to male and female SD rats for up to 24 months at dosages approximating up to 10, 4000, and 50 μg/kg/day, respectively (corresponding to dosages of 60, 24,000, and 300 μg/m²/day, respectively), statistically significant increases in the incidences of islet cell adenomas and combined islet cell adenomas and carcinomas of the pancreas in both males and females were observed. The clinical relevance of these findings is unknown.

Studies of hydroquinone in animals have demonstrated some evidence of carcinogenicity. The carcinogenic potential of hydroquinone in humans is unknown.

Studies in hairless albino mice suggest that concurrent exposure to tretinoin may enhance the tumorigenic potential of carcinogenic doses of UVB and UVA light from a solar simulator. This effect has been confirmed in a later study in pigmented mice, and dark pigmentation did not overcome the enhancement of photocarcinogenesis by 0.05% tretinoin. Although the significance of these studies to humans is not clear, patients should minimize exposure to sunlight or artificial ultraviolet irradiation sources.

Mutagenicity studies were not conducted with this combination of active ingredients. Published studies have demonstrated that hydroquinone is a mutagen and a clastogen. Treatment with hydroquinone has resulted in positive findings for genetic toxicity in the Ames assay in bacterial strains sensitive to oxidizing mutagens, in in vitro studies in mammalian cells, and in the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. Tretinoin has been shown to be negative for mutagenesis in the Ames assay. Additional information regarding the genetic toxicity potential of tretinoin and of fluocinolone acetonide is not available.

A dermal reproductive fertility study was conducted in SD rats using a 10-fold dilution of the clinical formulation. No effect was seen on the traditional parameters used to assess fertility, although prolongation of estrus was observed in some females, and there was a trend towards an increase in pre-and post-implantation loss that was not statistically significant. No adequate study of fertility and early embryonic toxicity of the full-strength drug product has been performed. In a six-month study in minipigs, small testes and severe hypospermia were found when males were treated topically with the full strength drug product.

Use In Specific Populations


Teratogenic Effects - Pregnancy Category C

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. TRI-LUMA Cream should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. TRI-LUMA Cream contains the teratogen, tretinoin, which may cause embryo-fetal death, altered fetal growth, congenital malformations, and potential neurologic deficits.

In clinical trials involving TRI-LUMA Cream in the treatment of facial melasma, women of child-bearing potential initiated treatment only after having had a negative pregnancy test and used effective birth control measures during therapy. However, 13 women became pregnant during treatment with TRILUMA Cream. Most of the pregnancy outcomes are unknown. Three women gave birth to apparently healthy babies. One pregnancy was terminated prematurely, and another ended in miscarriage.

In general, use of drugs should be reduced to a minimum in pregnancy. If a patient has been inadvertently exposed to TRI-LUMA Cream in pregnancy, she should be counseled on the risk of teratogenesis due to this exposure. The risk of teratogenesis due to topical exposure to TRI-LUMA Cream may be considered low. However, exposure during the period of organogenesis in the first trimester is theoretically more likely to produce adverse outcome than in later pregnancy.

Tretinoin is considered to be highly teratogenic upon systemic administration. Animal reproductive studies are not available with topical hydroquinone. 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.

  • In a dermal application study using TRI-LUMA Cream in pregnant rabbits, there was an increase in the number of in utero deaths and a decrease in fetal weights in litters from dams treated topically with the drug product.
  • In a dermal application study in pregnant rats treated with TRI-LUMA Cream during organogenesis there was evidence of teratogenicity of the type expected with tretinoin. These morphological alterations included cleft palate, protruding tongue, open eyes, umbilical hernia, and retinal folding or dysplasia.
  • In a dermal application study on the gestational and postnatal effects of a 10-fold dilution of TRI-LUMA Cream in rats, an increase in the number of stillborn pups, lower pup body weights, and delay in preputial separation were observed. An increase in overall activity was seen in some treated litters at postnatal day 22 and in all treated litters at five weeks, a pattern consistent with effects previously noted in animals exposed in utero with retinoic acids. No adequate study of the late gestational and postnatal effects of the full-strength TRI-LUMA Cream has been performed.
  • It is difficult to interpret these animal studies on teratogenicity with TRI-LUMA Cream, because the availability of the dermal applications in these studies could not be assured, and comparison with clinical dosing is not possible.

Nursing Mothers

Corticosteroids, when systemically administered, appear in human milk. It is not known whether topical application of TRI-LUMA Cream could result in sufficient systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities of fluocinolone acetonide, hydroquinone, or tretinoin in human milk. Because many drugs are secreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when TRI-LUMA Cream is administered to a nursing woman. Care should be taken to avoid contact between the infant being nursed and TRI-LUMA Cream.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of TRI-LUMA Cream in pediatric patients have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of TRI-LUMA Cream did not include sufficient number of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/11/2014


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