Fluorouracil (On the skin)

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

Treats actinic or solar keratoses (rough, raised areas of skin heavily exposed to sun). Also treats basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer).

Brand Name(s):

Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex, Tolak

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 medicine to use. Do not use more than directed.
  • Use this medicine only on your skin. Rinse it off right away if it gets on a cut or scrape. Do not get the medicine in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use this medicine.
  • Wash the skin to be treated with soap and water and wait 10 minutes before applying the medicine.
  • Apply a thin layer of the medicine 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 directed by your doctor.
  • 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:

  • Apply a dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and apply a regular 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 or doctor how to dispose of the medicine container and any leftover or expired medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. 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 put cosmetics or skin care products on the treated skin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant.
  • 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. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or 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

Last Updated: 11/6/2020

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