Capex (Fluocinolone Acetonide) - Topical

What Is Capex?

Capex is a brand name for the active drug fluocinolone acetonide, supplied as a shampoo formulation. Fluocinolone acetonide belongs to the class of topical corticosteroids. It has anti-inflammatory, antipruritic (a drug used to relieve itching), and vasoconstriction (constricts blood vessels) properties.

Corticosteroids are thought to activate specific proteins called lipocortin that control the biosynthesis of inflammation mediators such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins by inhibiting the release of their common precursors.

Capex is available only by prescription and must be used topically only.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Fluocinolone acetonide

Brand Name(s): Capex

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Corticosteroid

Available Generically: Yes (fluocinolone acetonide in forms other than Capex shampoo)

Controlled Substance: No

Administration Route: Topical

Active Ingredient: Fluocinolone acetonide

Dosage Form(s): Shampoo

What Is Capex Used For?

Capex Shampoo is indicated for treating seborrheic dermatitis (severe dandruff) of the scalp.

Seborrheic dermatitis (SD) is a chronic, recurrent, inflammatory skin condition that affects the face and scalp. The characteristic symptoms are scaling, erythema, and itching. SD can be resistant to treatment and can affect the quality of life. It affects nearly 6 million people in the United States.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis affects a varying proportion of the general population, ranging from 3% to 10%. Malassezia yeast species are thought to be responsible for the problem and causing inflammation. Seborrhoeic dermatitis tends to relapse after treatment.

Although the causes of SD are not entirely understood, research has been done in this area, and several effective treatments are available.

How to Use Capex

Read the manufacturer's guidelines before using any product. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about anything you don't understand.

When dispensing Capex, your pharmacist will mix the fluocinolone acetonide capsules in the shampoo.

  1. The shampoo is supplied with a 12 milligram (mg) fluocinolone acetonide capsule, emptied into the shampoo base by the pharmacist at the time of dispensing. 
  2. Use Capex Shampoo precisely as your healthcare provider tells you to use it.
  3. Shake the bottle well before use.
  4. Apply a small amount of shampoo to the scalp, and use your fingers to form a lather. 
  5. Leave it on the skin for five minutes with plenty of water. 
  6. Do not cover your head with a shower cap, bathing cap, or towel while the shampoo is on your scalp unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.
  7. Capex Shampoo is only for topical use. 
  8. Do not apply more than 1 ounce once daily.
  9. Avoid contact with eyes. If the shampoo gets into the eyes, rinse the eyes well with water.
  10. Do not bandage or cover your head after using Capex Shampoo unless your healthcare provider tells you to.
  11. Discard the Capex Shampoo bottle after two months of first using it, even if there is still some shampoo left in the bottle.
  12. Contact your healthcare provider if you develop irritation while using Capex Shampoo or if your seborrheic dermatitis is not improving.


Store in a well-closed bottle at room temperature between 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). Discard the shampoo after two months of initial use. Keep your medications tightly closed and out of the reach of children and pets, ideally locked in a cabinet or closet.

Avoid pouring unused and expired drugs down the drain or in the toilet. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider about the best ways to dispose of this medicine. Visit the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) website to know where and how to discard all unused and expired drugs. You can also find disposal boxes in your area. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have any questions about the best ways to dispose of your medications.

If you plan to travel with Capex, get familiar with your final destination's regulations. In general, be sure to make a copy of your Capex prescription. If possible, keep your medication in its original container from your pharmacy with your name on the label. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have any questions about traveling with your medicine.

How Long Does Capex Take to Work?

The half-life of fluocinolone acetonide is between 1.3 to 1.7 hours. In seborrheic dermatitis treatment studies, 84% of people on active therapy and 29% of people on the drug vehicle had cleared or shown an improvement after 14 days of treatment with Capex.

What Are the Side Effects of Capex?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Some common side effects of Capex that usually do not require medical attention are:

Call your healthcare provider if any symptoms worsen.

Severe Side Effects

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any signs of an allergic reaction (hives, rash, itching, trouble breathing or swallowing, shortness of breath). Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening.

Report Side Effects

Capex may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Capex Should I Take?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For redness, itching, and swelling of the skin:
    • For topical dosage form (cream, ointment, and solution):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected areas of the skin three to four times a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For topical dosage form (body oil):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected areas of the skin three times a day for up to 2 weeks.
      • Children 3 months of age and older—Apply to the affected areas two times a day for up to 4 weeks.
  • For seborrheic dermatitis:
    • For topical dosage form (shampoo):
      • Adults—Use on the scalp area once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For scalp psoriasis:
    • For topical dosage form (scalp oil):
      • Adults—Apply to the affected areas of the scalp and leave overnight.
      • Children 2 years of age and older—Apply to the affected areas 2 times a day for up to 4 weeks.


The following modifications (changes) should be kept in mind when using Capex:

Severe allergic reaction: Avoid using Capex if you have a known allergy to it or any of its ingredients and peanuts. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

Pregnancy: Some corticosteroid drugs have shown adverse effects in the fetuses of laboratory animals after applying them on the skin. We don't know enough about the safety and effectiveness of Capex in pregnant people and their unborn fetuses. Discuss with your healthcare provider if you plan to become pregnant or are pregnant, and weigh the benefits and risks of taking Capex during your pregnancy.

Breastfeeding: It is unknown whether topical application of corticosteroids could result in enough systemic absorption to produce detectable quantities in human milk. We don't know enough about the safety of Capex in human breast milk and nursing babies. Talk with your healthcare provider if you plan to breastfeed, weigh the benefits and risks of taking Capex while nursing, and the different ways to feed your baby.

Adults over 65 years: Clinical studies haven't included a large enough number of people in this age group to see whether they respond differently from younger adults.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of Capex in children and infants have not been established.

Administration modifications: For topical use only.

Missed Dose

If you accidentally forgot your Capex dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it's already close to your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the following dose at your next scheduled dosing time. Don't try to double up to make up for the missed dose.

Try to find ways that work for you to help yourself remember to keep your appointments and take your medication routinely. If you miss too many doses, Capex might be less effective at treating your condition.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Capex?

Applying Capex shampoo on the skin could result in sufficient absorption to produce some adverse effects. If you think you're experiencing an overdose or life-threatening symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

What Happens If I Overdose on Capex?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Capex, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Capex, call 911 immediately.


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It is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits for any unwanted effects that may be caused by this medicine.

If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

Using too much of this medicine or using it for a long time may increase your risk of having adrenal gland problems. The risk is greater for children and patients who use large amounts for a long time. Talk to your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms while you are using this medicine: blurred vision; dizziness or fainting; a fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat; increased thirst or urination; irritability; or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child have a skin rash, burning, stinging, swelling, or irritation on the skin.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Capex?

Avoid using it if you're allergic to Capex or its ingredients. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider for a complete list of the ingredients if you're unsure.

What Other Medications Interact With Capex?

Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about any other medicines you take or plan to take, including over-the-counter (OTC), nonprescription products, vitamins, herbs, or plant-based medicines.

Talk with your pharmacist or healthcare provider for more detailed information about medication interactions with Capex.

What Medications Are Similar?

The active drug fluocinolone acetonide is a corticosteroid drug available in different formulations under various brands and generic names, including Capex shampoo.

Several OTC antifungal shampoos (long-term) and topical corticosteroids (short-term) shampoos are available to treat seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp. They can be used as second-line agents for the treatment of this problem.

Use the specific brand or generic drug for a particular indication. Don't switch between brands or use for conditions other than prescribed. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the best suitable formulation for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Capex?

    Capex is a low to medium-potency corticosteroid available in the form of shampoo. It is indicated for treating seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp.

  • Who should not use Capex shampoo?

    People who are allergic to any ingredient of this formulation are advised not to use this shampoo.

  • What are the side effects of Capex?

    Some of the common side effects of Capex are:

    • Acne
    • Dry, itchy, and inflamed skin
    • Burning sensation at the area of application
    • Inflamed hair follicles
    • Thinning of the skin
    • Skin discoloration
  • Does seborrheic dermatitis comes again after treatment?

    Seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp or face is an inflammatory skin disease that tends to relapse (come back) even after successful treatment. After checking with your healthcare provider, watch for symptoms and restart the therapy as needed.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Capex?

Seborrheic dermatitis can be a chronic, irritating and relapsing condition that can have various future outbreaks even after treatment. While living with seborrheic dermatitis does have its challenges, there are ways to help improve your quality of life. The primary therapy goals for seborrheic dermatitis are to reduce the visible signs of the disease and the symptoms. Refer below for some general tips to support your health:

  • Use Capex as directed. It is for external use only. Avoid contact with the eyes. In case of contact, wash your eyes with water.
  • Please don't use it for any disorder other than it was prescribed.
  • Don't bandage or otherwise cover or wrap the treated scalp area.
  • Avoid triggers of seborrheic dermatitis symptoms.
  • Don't irritate the lesions with excessive scratching.
  • Report any signs of local adverse reactions to your healthcare provider.
  • Discard contents after two months.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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