fluorouracil (Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex, Tolak)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    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: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is fluorouracil-topical-carac-efudex-fluoroplex, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • 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.

What brand names are available for fluorouracil-topical-carac-efudex-fluoroplex?

Carac, Efudex, Fluoroplex, Tolak

Do I need a prescription for fluorouracil-topical-carac-efudex-fluoroplex?


What are the uses for fluorouracil-topical-carac-efudex-fluoroplex?

  • 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.

What are the side effects of fluorouracil-topical-carac-efudex-fluoroplex?

Common side effects of topical fluorouracil include:

Common side effects include:

Other side effects include:

  • Ulcer formation
  • Hypo-pigmentation
  • Scarring
  • Bacterial infection
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/8/2016

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