fluorouracil topical, Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD
Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:
GENERIC NAME: fluorouracil, topical
BRAND NAME: Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Topical fluorouracil is a drug that is used to treat conditions of the skin in which there is rapid multiplication (division) of cells, for example, skin cancer. In order to multiply or divide, cells must produce DNA for each new cell. The DNA is critical since it is the genetic material that directs the activity of all cells. Production of DNA depends on the production of RNA which serves as a messenger during the production of DNA. Fluorouracil prevents the formation of RNA which, in turn, prevents the formation of DNA. As a result, cells cannot multiply. With continued treatment, the remaining cells also die. The FDA approved fluorouracil in July 1970.
PREPARATIONS: Cream 0.5, 1 and 5%. Solution 2 and 5%.
STORAGE: Cream and solution should be stored at room temperature, between 15-30 C (59-86 F).
PRESCRIBED FOR: Topical fluorouracil is used to treat certain skin conditions in which cells are multiplying rapidly. It is used to treat cancerous or precancerous conditions including solar keratoses, actinic keratosis, superficial basal cell carcinoma, and Bowen's disease (a type of skin cancer). It also is used to treat some noncancerous conditions in which cells are dividing rapidly, including psoriasis, genital warts, and porokeratosis (an unusual inherited skin condition causing dry patches on the arms and legs). Fluorouracil works best on the face and scalp and is less effective on other areas of the body. It also destroys sun-damaged skin cells making the skin smoother and more youthful-appearing.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Back to Medications Index