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Efudex is a topical medicine (applied directly on the skin) used to treat multiple actinic or solar keratoses (small, rough, raised area of skin that has often been exposed to the sun for a long period). It is also used to treat a type of skin cancer called superficial basal cell carcinoma when usual treatment cannot be used. Efudex is available as a cream and a solution.
How does this medication work?
Efudex works by interfering with the growth of abnormal cells found in actinic keratoses and basal cell carcinoma.
What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?
What: By treating your lesions, Efudex may help prevent the development or worsening of skin cancer.
Actinic or Solar Keratoses: Complete healing of your lesions may be seen 1-2 months after completing treatment with Efudex.
Superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma: Therapy may be needed for as long as 10-12 weeks.
How do I know it is working?
Your skin lesions and surrounding areas may feel irritated and look red, swollen, or scaly when you begin treatment with Efudex. This is a sign that your medicine is working. Your healthcare provider may also ask you questions from time to time to assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.
The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.
Common side effects may include: burning, crusting, allergic skin reactions, itching, scarring, rash, soreness, ulceration.
Do not use Efudex if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.
Do not use Efudex if you are or may become pregnant.
Do not use Efudex if you have a condition known as dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) enzyme deficiency.
Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Efudex. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.
Adults: Apply a sufficient amount to cover the lesions on the affected area(s) twice a day. Your healthcare provider will tell you how long to use Efudex, based on your condition.
Use Efudex exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not use Efudex more often or stop using it without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Efudex should be applied with a nonmetal applicator or an appropriate glove. If Efudex is applied with your fingers, wash your hands immediately afterwards.
Use only the 5% strength for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma.
If you experience stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or chills, stop using the medicine and contact your healthcare provider right away.
Do not bandage or cover the skin treated with Efudex without first checking with your healthcare provider.
Do not expose your skin to ultraviolet light (such as sunlamps or tanning beds) during and immediately following treatment with Efudex.
Do not apply Efudex on your eyelids, or directly in your eyes, nose, mouth, or vagina.
No significant interactions have been reported with Efudex at this time. However, always tell your healthcare provider about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Do not become pregnant or breastfeed during treatment with Efudex. The effects of Efudex during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
If you miss a dose of Efudex, apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply two doses at once.
Store at room temperature.
In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222
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