The name of your medicine is ___________________________
About Your Medicine
Fluorouracil (flure-oh-YOUR-a-sill) is used to treat actinic or solar keratoses and some basal cell cancers. Fluorouracil works by interfering with the growth of abnormal cells. These cells grow rapidly and take up the medicine at a more rapid pace and are destroyed. Your doctor has prescribed this medicine to treat your skin condition.
Before Using This Medicine
Tell your health care providers (doctor, nurse and pharmacist) if you:
- have ever used this drug before and had a severe or allergic reaction
- are pregnant or plan to be
- are breast-feeding
- have any other health or skin problems
Proper Use of This Medicine
Use this medicine only as directed by your doctor. Do not use this more often and/or for a longer period of time than ordered by your doctor and do not share this drug with anyone else.
- Wash the area with soap and water, and then pat dry.
- Apply to the area shown:
____________ times a day
____________ days a week
- Since this is a strong drug, it is best to wear a glove or a finger cot. Or, you may also use a cotton swab to apply the drug to your skin. If these are not available, you may use your fingertips. Wash your hands well when you are done.
- Apply the drug in a layer just thick enough to cover the affected skin. Use care so as not to apply the drug in the eyes, nose and mouth.
- It is best to shower daily or clean the affected area once daily with running water. Wash the area gently with soap as directed by your health care provider.
- You may use cold compresses or a moisturizer to help relieve itching.
If you miss a dose, apply it as soon as you remember, however if it is within four hours before your next dose, skip the missed dose and apply it at your next scheduled dosing time. Contact your doctor if you forget to use the medicine for one day or longer.
Precautions While Using This Medicine
- You should avoid sun exposure and sunlamp use while using this drug and for 1-2 months after you stop using it, because your skin is more sensitive to sunlight. You may use a sunscreen if there are no open areas in the skin.
- It is best to not cover the area with a bandage or dressing as this may lead to more irritation in the normal skin around the area. If you feel that you need to cover the area for cosmetic purposes, a non-stick pad may be used without causing any irritation.
Common Skin Reactions
- Skin may be blotchy red in treated areas.
- Skin may be slightly dry, irritated, and itchy.
What to Expect
3 to 10 days after you begin to use the drug your skin may look worse than before. It may start to turn red, blister, peel and crack. You may get open areas, have itching and discomfort. The skin may flake off. This is normal. When the drug is stopped and the skin heals it may be red for awhile then will fade and smooth.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects that may need medical attention:
- Severe pain, swelling, rash or itching
- Signs of infection (fever, chills, foul drainage)
- Large open areas
Side effects that usually do not need medical attention:
- Burning feeling at the area drug is used
- Mild itching
- Small open areas
- Skin rash, cracking or peeling of the skin
- Mild discomfort or soreness of the skin
These side effects may go away during the treatment, however if they continue, worsen or are bothersome, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Other side effects that are less common or rare are:
- Darkening of the skin
- Watery eyes
- Hair loss
Store all medicines in a cool dry place, away from heat and direct light.
Keep all medicines out of reach of children and pets.
Please discuss your questions, concerns or problems with your doctor or nurse at the clinic, or call the clinic checked below:
East Clinic – Mohs/Dermatology Clinic (608) 265-1288
West Clinic – Dermatology Clinic (608) 265 -7670
West Clinic - Mohs Clinic (608) 263-6226
If you have any questions specific to your medication, feel free to call the UW Hospital Outpatient Pharmacy at (608) 263-1280 or East Clinic Pharmacy at (608) 265-1650 or West Clinic Pharmacy at (608) 265-7070.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 and ask for your clinic.
1. Novitch M, Bennett DR, Fay JT et al, eds. Advice for the patient: drug information in lay language. USPDI Vol. II 14th ed. Tauton: Rand McNally; 1994.
2. Bingham CJ. How to use Efudex7 (fluorouracil). University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics: Health Facts For You. 1993.
3. Roche Laboratories. Efudex package insert. Nutley, NJ: 1991 September.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/11/2012
Copyright © 06/11/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4572
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