Efudex Cream (Generic Fluorouracil Topical)
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Why is this medication prescribed?
Actinic or solar keratoses, which are scaly or crusty lesions [skin regions] brought on by years of excessive sun exposure, are treated with fluorouracil cream and topical solution. If standard forms of treatment are ineffective, fluorouracil cream and topical solution are also used to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma, a kind of skin cancer. The drug fluorouracil belongs to the group of drugs known as antimetabolites. It functions by destroying rapidly proliferating cells, such as the aberrant ones found in basal cell cancer and actinic keratoses.
How should this medicine be used?
Both a solution and a cream for topical application of fluorouracil are available. Typically, it is given twice daily to the afflicted areas. Apply fluorouracil at roughly the same times each day to help you remember to take it. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the fluorouracil instructions exactly. Do not use more, less, or more frequently than advised by your doctor.
Fluorouracil should be used until the actinic or solar keratoses begin to peel off if you are treating them with it. Normally, this takes two to four weeks. However, it’s possible that the lesions won’t fully heal for a month or more after you stop using fluorouracil.
Fluorouracil should be used until the lesions are gone if it is being used to treat basal cell carcinoma. This typically takes between 3 and 6 weeks, but it could take up to 10 or 12.
The skin lesions and surrounding areas will feel itchy during the first several weeks of treatment and appear red, puffy, and scaly. This demonstrates the fluorouracil’s efficacy. If your doctor has not instructed you to discontinue taking fluorouracil, do not.
Use a glove, a nonmetal applicator, or your finger to apply fluorouracil cream. If you use your finger to apply fluorouracil lotion, wash your hands well right after. Unless your doctor instructs you to, avoid bandaging or dressing the treated areas.
Applying fluorouracil cream or topical solution to the eyes, nose, or mouth is not advised.
Other uses for this medicine
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using fluorouracil,
- If you have an allergy to fluorouracil or any other drug, let your doctor and pharmacist know right away.
- Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any topical medications you are taking, as well as any vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you use. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
- If you have or have ever had a dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme deficiency (a shortage of an enzyme that occurs naturally in your body), let your doctor know.
- Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor right away if you find out you’re pregnant while taking fluorouracil. The fetus could suffer from fluorouracil.
- Plan to use protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen as well as to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV rays (such as tanning booths). Your skin could become sun-sensitive if you take fluorouracil.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
As soon as you realize you missed a dose, administer it. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. Applying a second dose to make up for a missed one is not advised.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Fluorouracil could have negative effects. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- At the application location, you can experience a burning, crusting, redness, discolouration, annoyance, pain, itching, rash, or soreness.
Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Even though the following signs are unusual, you should call your doctor right once if you notice any of them:
- A very bad stomach ache
- Bloody stools
- Severe rash with red skin
Other negative effects of fluorouracil are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch or by phone at 1-800-332-1088 if you have a serious side event.
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it at room temperature and out of the bathroom and other places with excessive heat and moisture.
Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilizing a medicine take-back program is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programs in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back program, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.
As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.
What other information should I know?
Keep all of your doctor’s appointments.
Do not share your medication with anybody else. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.
You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.
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