Classifications: antiinflammatory; fluorinated steroid;
Therapeutic: antiinflammatory
; steroid
Prototype: Hydrocortisone
Pregnancy Category: C


0.1% ointment, cream, solution


Fluorinated steroid with substituted 17-hydroxyl group. Crosses cell membranes, complexes with nuclear DNA and stimulates synthesis of enzymes thought to be responsible for antiinflammatory effects.

Therapeutic Effect

Exhibits antiinflammatory, antipyretic, and vasocontrictive properties.


Relief of pruritic and inflammatory manifestations of corticosteroid-responsive dermatoses.


Use on large body surface area; long-term use; infection; acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, perioral dermatitis; pregnancy (category C), lactation.

Cautious Use

Diabetes mellitus; older adults.

Route & Dosage

Adult: Topical Apply thin layer b.i.d. or t.i.d.
Child: Topical Apply thin layer once/d


  • Wash skin gently and dry thoroughly before each application.
  • Note: Ointment is preferred for dry scaly lesions. Moist lesions are best treated with solution.
  • Do not apply in or around the eyes.
  • Do not apply occlusive dressings over areas covered with halcinonide unless specifically prescribed.
  • Store at 15°–30° C (59°–86° F).

Adverse Effects (≥1%)

Endocrine: Reversible HPA axis suppression, hyperglycemia, glycosuria. Skin: Burning, itching, irritation, erythema, dryness, folliculitis, hypertrichosis, pruritus, acneiform eruptions, hypopigmentation, perioral dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, stinging cracking/tightness of skin, secondary infection, skin atrophy, striae, miliaria, telangiectasia.


Absorption: Minimum through intact skin; increased from axilla, eyelid, face, scalp, scrotum, or with occlusive dressing.

Nursing Implications

Assessment & Drug Effects

  • Discontinue if signs of infection or irritation occur.
  • Monitor for systemic corticosteroid effects that may occur with occlusive dressings or topical applications over large areas of skin.

Patient & Family Education

  • Do not use an occlusive dressing with this drug unless specifically directed to do so by physician.
  • Wash your hands before and after applying this topical medicine.
  • Do not get any of the medication in your eyes. If you do, rinse it out with plenty of cool tap water.

Common adverse effects in italic, life-threatening effects underlined; generic names in bold; classifications in SMALL CAPS; Canadian drug name; Prototype drug

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