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Fluorouracil - Topical

Pronunciation: flewr-oh-YOUR-uh-sill

Common Brand Name(s): Efudex

Important: How To Use This Information

This is a summary and does NOT have all possible information about this product. This information does not assure that this product is safe, effective, or appropriate for you. This information is not individual medical advice and does not substitute for the advice of your health care professional. Always ask your health care professional for complete information about this product and your specific health needs.

Uses

This medication is used on the skin to treat pre-cancerous and cancerous skin growths. Fluorouracil belongs to a class of medications known as anti-metabolites. It works by blocking the growth of abnormal cells that cause the skin condition.

How To Use

Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Use this medication as directed by your doctor. Before you apply this medication to the skin, clean the affected area and dry well. Wait 10 minutes, then apply a small amount of medication to the affected skin, using just enough to cover the area with a thin film. Wash your hands immediately after applying this medication, even if you have used gloves.

The treated area may become unsightly during treatment and in some cases for several weeks after treatment. Do not cover the area with tight dressings or plastic bandages. Check with your doctor whether you may cover the treated area loosely with gauze.

Avoid applying this medication in or around the eyes or eyelids. Also, do not apply this medication inside the nose or mouth. If you do get the medication in these areas, rinse with plenty of water.

This medication may cause serious harm (even death) in pets. Keep this medication securely away from pets, and do not allow pets to lick the area where the medication was applied. Contact your vet right away if your pet comes into contact with this medication.

Use this medication exactly as prescribed. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor. Do not increase your dose or use it more often than directed. Your condition will not clear faster, but side effects will be increased.

If your condition worsens or does not improve, consult your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Side Effects

Skin irritation, burning, redness, dryness, pain, swelling, tenderness, or changes in skin color may occur at the site of application. Eye irritation (such as stinging, watering), trouble sleeping, irritability, temporary hair loss, or abnormal taste in the mouth may also occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:

  • stomach/abdominal pain
  • bloody diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • signs of infection (such as sore throat that doesn't go away, fever, chills)
  • easy bruising/bleeding
  • mouth sores

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:

  • rash
  • itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before using fluorouracil, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to flucytosine; or to capecitabine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as peanut oil found in some brands), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:

  • a certain enzyme deficiency (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase - DPD)
  • red/irritated/infected/open sores on skin

This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. After using fluorouracil cream, wait 2 hours before applying sunscreen or moisturizer to the treated area. Do not use other skin products including creams, lotions, medications, or cosmetics unless instructed by your doctor to do so. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

This medication must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Discuss the use of reliable forms of birth control with your doctor. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.

It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.

Overdose

This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.

Notes

Do not share this medication with others.

This medication must be used under close medical supervision. Be sure to keep all your medical appointments so your doctor can monitor your progress or any side effects.

Discard any unused medication when the treatment is finished. Do not use it for any other skin conditions unless directed to do so by your doctor.

There are different brands and forms of this medication available. Not all have identical effects. Do not change brands or forms without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.

If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Storage

Store at room temperature. Do not freeze. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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