Generic Name: fluorouracil topical (FLOOR oh URE a sil TOP i kal)
Brand Name: Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex, Tolak
What is Efudex?
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.
Efudex (for the skin) is used to treat scaly overgrowths of skin (actinic or solar keratoses). This medicine may also be used in the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma.
Efudex may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use Efudex if you are pregnant.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Efudex if you are allergic to it.
To make sure Efudex is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
Efudex can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop using the medicine and tell your doctor right away. Use effective birth control to avoid pregnancy during treatment. Follow your doctor's instructions about how long to prevent pregnancy after your treatment ends.
It is not known whether fluorouracil topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using Efudex.
Efudex is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I use Efudex?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin.
Clean the area where you will apply Efudex. 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 medicine, unless it is being used to treat a hand condition.
Apply Efudex 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.
Caregivers who apply this medicine should wear rubber gloves.
Do not use Efudex on skin that is irritated, peeling, or infected or on open wounds. Wait until these conditions have fully healed before using this medicine.
Do not cover the treated skin area unless your doctor tells you to.
A moisturizer or sun screen may be applied 2 hours after Efudex has been applied.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. Keep the medicine container tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using Efudex?
Do not use Efudex on your eyelids or in your eyes, nose, or mouth. Rinse with water or saline if this medicine gets in your eyes.
Do not let Efudex build up in the skin folds around your mouth, nose, or eyes. Use caution when applying the medicine around these areas.
Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with Efudex unless your doctor tells you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Efudex can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.
This medicine can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
Efudex side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Efudex and call your doctor at once if you have:
severe pain or swelling of treated skin;
severe itching, burning, or irritation;
open skin sores; or
shedding of dead skin.
Common side effects may include:
skin redness, followed by dryness, tenderness, and crusting;
skin peeling or flaking;
skin darkening or scarring;
small blood vessels under the skin;
mild rash; or
mild irritation where the medicine was applied.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Efudex?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied fluorouracil. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Editorial References and Review
Medically reviewed by USARx EDITORIAL TEAM Last updated on 1/1/2020.
Source: Drugs.com Efudex (www.drugs.com/mtm/efudex.html).