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All about: fluorouracil topical

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Generic Name: fluorouracil topical (flore oh YER a sill)
Brand Names: Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex

What is fluorouracil topical?

Fluorouracil interferes with the growth of skin cells. Fluorouracil works by causing the death of cells which are growing fastest, such as abnormal skin cells.

Fluorouracil topical is used to treat scaly overgrowths of skin (actinic or solar keratoses). Fluorouracil topical may also be used in the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma.

Fluorouracil topical may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about fluorouracil topical?

Do not use fluorouracil topical on skin that is irritated, peeling, or infected or on open wounds. Wait until these conditions have fully healed before using fluorouracil topical. Fluorouracil topical is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that it is known to harm an unborn baby. Miscarriage and birth defects have been reported when fluorouracil topical was applied to mucous membrane areas by pregnant women. Do not use fluorouracil topical if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor appropriate forms of birth control before starting treatment with fluorouracil topical.

Fluorouracil topical is available in a number of strengths and forms (creams and solutions). It is very important that you use the correct form and strength. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions regarding which product to use.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (e.g., sun lamps) during and immediately following treatment with fluorouracil topical. Use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) 15 and wear protective clothing when sun exposure is unavoidable. Individuals with fair skin may require a sunscreen with a higher SPF rating.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using fluorouracil topical?

Before using fluorouracil topical, tell your doctor if you:

  • have ever had an allergic reaction to another form of fluorouracil topical (Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex) or injectable fluorouracil (Adrucil, 5-FU); or

  • have dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme deficiency.

You may not be able to use fluorouracil topical, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Fluorouracil topical is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that it is known to harm an unborn baby. Miscarriage and birth defects have been reported when fluorouracil topical was applied to mucous membrane areas by pregnant women. Do not use fluorouracil topical if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor appropriate forms of birth control before starting treatment with fluorouracil topical. It is not known whether fluorouracil topical passes into breast milk. Do not use fluorouracil topical without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. The safety and effectiveness of fluorouracil topical in patients younger than 18 years of age have not been established.

How should I use fluorouracil topical?

Use fluorouracil topical exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.

Fluorouracil topical is available in a number of strengths and forms (creams and solutions). It is very important that you use the correct form and strength. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions regarding which product to use.

Clean the area where you will apply fluorouracil topical. Rinse well and dry the area with a towel and wait ten minutes before applying the medication.

Wash your hands before and immediately after applying this medication, unless it is being used to treat a hand condition.

Apply fluorouracil topical to the affected area with the finger tips or a non-metal applicator, smoothing it gently onto the affected skin. Use enough to cover the entire area with a thin film.

Fluorouracil topical should not be applied on the eyelids or in the eyes, nose, or mouth. Use caution when applying fluorouracil topical around the eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not use fluorouracil topical on skin that is irritated, peeling, or infected or on open wounds. Wait until these conditions have fully healed before using fluorouracil topical.

Do not cover the area after applying fluorouracil topical. This could cause too much medicine to be absorbed by the body and could be harmful. If a covering is needed, ask your doctor if a porous gauze dressing may be used.

A moisturizer or sun screen may be applied 2 hours after fluorouracil topical has been applied. Do not use any other skin products including creams, lotions, medications, or cosmetics unless instructed by your doctor.

The reaction of the skin treated with fluorouracil topical may be unsightly during treatment, and sometimes, for several weeks after completion of therapy.

Store fluorouracil topical at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the dose you missed and apply only the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not apply a double dose of this medication.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of fluorouracil topical is unlikely to occur. If you do suspect an overdose, or if fluorouracil topical has been ingested, call a poison control center or an emergency room for advice.

What should I avoid while using fluorouracil topical?

Do not use other prescription or over-the-counter skin products without first talking to your doctor during treatment with fluorouracil topical. They may interfere with the treatment or increase irritation of the skin. Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (e.g., sun lamps) during and immediately following treatment with fluorouracil topical. Use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) 15 and wear protective clothing when sun exposure is unavoidable. Individuals with fair skin may require a sunscreen with a higher SPF rating.

Fluorouracil topical side effects

Serious side effects are not likely to occur. Stop using fluorouracil topical and seek emergency medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction (shortness of breath; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, face, or tongue; or hives).

Fluorouracil topical may cause skin irritation, dryness, scaling or peeling (exfoliation), rash, and other local reactions. Eye irritation has also been reported. If these side effects are excessive or worsen with continued treatment, contact your doctor.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect fluorouracil topical?

Do not use other prescription or over-the-counter skin products without first talking to your doctor during treatment with fluorouracil topical. They may interfere with treatment or increase irritation to the skin.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with fluorouracil topical. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about fluorouracil topical written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Fluorouracil topical is available as a cream or topical solution with a prescription under the brand names Fluoroplex, Efudex and Carac. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Carac 0.5%--cream

  • Fluoroplex 1%--cream

  • Fluoroplex 1%--topical solution

  • Efudex 2%--topical solution

  • Efudex 5%--topical solution

  • Efudex 5%--cream

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.07. Revision Date: 1/9/06 12:49:36 PM.

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