This medication is used to treat a variety of skin conditions (e.g., eczema, dermatitis, allergies, rash). Hydrocortisone butyrate reduces the swelling, itching, and redness that can occur in these types of conditions. The topical solution is used to treat severe dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis). This medication is a medium-strength corticosteroid.
What are Locoid cream and ointment used for?
Locoid cream and ointment are used to treat a variety of inflammatory skin disorders, such as those listed below, when milder corticosteroids have not been effective.
- Eczema and dermatitis.
Locoid ointment is more greasy than the cream. It is more suitable for very dry, scaly areas of skin, whereas moist or weepy skin is best treated with the cream.
How do Locoid cream and ointment work?
- Locoid cream and ointment both contain the active ingredient hydrocortisone butyrate, which is a type of medicine called a topical corticosteroid.
- Corticosteroids are medicines used for reducing inflammation. Inflammation of the skin happens as a result of allergy or irritation of the skin, and is caused by the release of various substances that are important in the immune system. These substances cause blood vessels to widen and result in the irritated area becoming red, swollen, itchy and painful, such as is seen in dermatitis or eczema.
- When hydrocortisone is applied to the skin it works by acting inside the cells to decrease the release of these inflammatory substances. This reduces swelling, redness and itch.
- There is a range of potencies of corticosteroids applied to the skin. Hydrocortisone butyrate is classed as a potent corticosteroid. (It is not the same as hydrocortisone that can be bought without a prescription - it is a much stronger form of hydrocortisone.) It is prescribed to treat severe inflammatory skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis that have not responded to weaker corticosteroids.
Important information about Locoid cream and ointment
- Locoid cream and ointment are for external use on the skin only.
- The cream or ointment should be applied thinly and evenly to the affected area(s). Click here to see how much to use.
- Avoid getting the medicine in the eyes, or in contact with the inside of the mouth or nose. Rinse with cold water if accidental contact occurs.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after applying this medicine, unless the hands are the area being treated.
- If your doctor has advised you to use dressings with this medicine, the skin should be cleansed before applying the cream/ointment under a fresh dressing.
- If corticosteroids are used long-term, on large areas of skin, raw or broken skin, skin folds, or under airtight dressings they are absorbed into the body more. This increases the risk of local side effects such as skin thinning, and those on other parts of the body, such as a decrease in the production of natural hormones by the adrenal glands. For this reason, continuous, long-term use of this medicine should be avoided wherever possible, particularly in children and on large areas of skin. You should only use airtight dressings over the affected area if instructed by your doctor. If there is no improvement in your skin after two to four weeks of treatment you should consult your doctor.
- If this medicine is used on the face, wherever possible it should not be used for longer than seven days. You should not use airtight dressings to cover the area treated.
- If used in infants, wherever possible this medicine should not be used for longer than seven days, or on the face. You should not use airtight dressings to cover the area treated. Be aware that children's nappies can also act as an airtight dressing and can increase the absorption of the medicine. Children being treated with this medicine should be reviewed by the doctor at least once a week.
- If you have been prescribed this medicine to treat psoriasis you should have regular check-ups with your doctor. This is because although corticosteroids may be useful for psoriasis in the short-term, they can sometimes make psoriasis worse, and may cause the condition to relapse into generalised pustular psoriasis after the treatment is stopped.
- If you think the area of skin you are treating has become infected you should stop using this medicine and consult your doctor.
Locoid cream and ointment should be used with caution in
- Locoid cream and ointment should not be used in
- Bacterial skin infections, such as impetigo.
- Fungal skin infections such as thrush, ringworm, athlete's foot.
- Viral skin infections, such as chickenpox, shingles, cold sores or herpes simplex.
- Chronic inflammatory disorder of the facial skin (acne rosacea).
- Inflammatory rash around the mouth (perioral dermatitis).
- Widespread plaque psoriasis.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
- This medicine should not be used during pregnancy unless considered essential by your doctor. If it is prescribed by your doctor it should not be used on large areas of skin, underneath airtight dressings, or for prolonged periods of time. Consult your doctor for further information.
- This medicine should not be used during breastfeeding unless considered essential by your doctor. If it is prescribed by your doctor it should not be used on large areas of skin, underneath airtight dressings or for prolonged periods of time. If it is applied to the breasts it should be washed off carefully before breastfeeding and then reapplied afterwards.
Possible side effects of Locoid cream and ointment
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect. The following side effects are known to be associated with this medicine.
- Skin irritation at site of application, such as burning, itching and redness.
- Allergic inflammation of the skin (contact dermatitis).
- Thinning of the skin.
- Changes in skin pigmentation.
- Stretch marks (striae).
- Groupings of fine blood vessels becoming prominent under the skin (telangiectasia).
- Prolonged use of this medicine on extensive areas of skin, broken or raw skin, skin folds or underneath airtight dressings may on rare occasions result in enough corticosteroid being absorbed to have side effects on other parts of the body, for example a decrease in the production of natural hormones by the adrenal glands.
This list may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
If you think you have experienced a side effect from a medicine or vaccine you should check the patient information leaflet. This lists the known side effects and what to do if you get them. You can also get advice from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. If they think it's necessary they'll report it for you.
How can Locoid cream and ointment affect other medicines?
- This medicine is not known to affect other medicines. However, as with all medicines, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already using, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any new medicines while using this one, to make sure that the combination is safe.
If you are using other medicines on the same area of skin it is recommended that you leave several minutes between applying each product. This is to allow each product time to be absorbed and avoid them mixing on the skin.
If you apply moisturisers shortly before or after applying this medicine these can dilute the corticosteroid and potentially make it less effective. Try to apply your moisturisers at a different time of day, or at least 30 minutes before or after this one.