Fluorouracil (On the skin)

Introduction

Fluorouracil (flure-oh-URE-a-sil)

Treats actinic keratoses or solar keratoses (red wart-like growth on the skin). Also treats skin cancer (superficial basal cell carcinoma).

Brand Name(s)

Efudex, Carac, Fluoroplex

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to fluorouracil. Do not use this medicine if you are or may become pregnant. Do not use this medicine if you have dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme deficiency.

How to Use This Medicine

Cream, Liquid

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine is for use on the skin only. Do not get it in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Do not use it on skin areas that have cuts or scrapes. If it does get on these areas, rinse it off right away.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after using this medicine.
  • Wash the skin to be treated with soap and water and wait 10 minutes before applying the medicine.
  • Apply a thin layer to the affected area. Rub it in gently.
  • You may use a glove, nonmetal applicator, or your fingers to apply this medicine.
  • Do not cover the treated area with a bandage unless your doctor has told you to.
  • If your doctor tells you to use a bandage, use a gauze bandage with tape. A plastic bandage is more likely to cause skin irritation.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, apply it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to apply the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Keep the medicine at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of the used medicine container and any leftover medicine after you have finished your treatment. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated skin areas.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breast feeding. Tell your doctor if you are sensitive to preservatives, or if you have any other medical conditions.
  • This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Use a sunscreen when you are outdoors. Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Fever, chills, or vomiting.
  • Severe skin rash or itching.
  • Stomach pain, or diarrhea that contains blood.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Change in skin color where medicine is put on.
  • Eye burning, itching, stinging, or watering.
  • Hair loss.
  • Mild skin itching or burning.
  • Pain where the medicine is put on.
  • Swelling, blistering, redness, or peeling of skin.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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