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Does Efudex (topical fluorouracil) cause side effects?
Efudex (topical fluorouracil) is contains an antineoplastic antimetabolite used to treat conditions of the skin in which there is rapid multiplication (division) of cells, for example, skin cancer 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).
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.
Efudex 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.
Common side effects of Efudex include
- burning sensation,
- sun sensitivity,
- allergic reactions, and
Serious side effects of Efudex include
- ulcer formation,
- loss of pigmentation (hypopigmentation),
- scarring, and
- bacterial infection.
There are no known drug interactions with topical Efudex. Although very little fluorouracil is absorbed from normal skin, about 20% can be absorbed into the blood when fluorouracil is applied to damaged skin.
Efudex can cause damage to the fetus, and it should not be used by pregnant women.
What are the important side effects of Efudex (topical fluorouracil)?
Common side effects of topical fluorouracil include:
Other side effects include:
- Ulcer formation
- Bacterial infection
Efudex (topical fluorouracil) side effects list for healthcare professionals
The most frequent adverse reactions to Efudex occur locally and are often related to an extension of the pharmacological activity of the drug.
These reactions include:
Ulcerations, other local reactions, cases of miscarriage and a birth defect (ventricular septal defect) have been reported when Efudex was applied to mucous membrane areas. Leukocytosis is the most frequent hematological side effect.
Although a causal relationship is remote, other adverse reactions which have been reported infrequently are:
- Central Nervous System: Emotional upset, insomnia, irritability.
- Gastrointestinal: Medicinal taste, stomatitis.
- Hematological: Eosinophilia, thrombocytopenia, toxic granulation.
- Integumentary: Alopecia, blistering, bullous pemphigoid, discomfort, ichthyosis, scaling, suppuration, swelling, telangiectasia, tenderness, urticaria, skin rash.
- Special Senses: Conjunctival reaction, corneal reaction, lacrimation, nasal irritation.
- Miscellaneous: Herpes simplex.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC at 1-800-321-4576 and/or FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
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Second Source WebMD Medical Reference
What Is the Best Treatment for Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an incurable chronic autoimmune disorder of the skin that causes patches of thick, flaky, scaly skin, mostly around the scalp, knees, and elbows, though any skin surface may be involved. Some people experience only small patches while others have red, inflamed skin and think scaly patches all over the body. The exact cause of psoriasis is not clear, but it isn’t contagious.
Does Skin Cancer Kill You?
Skin cancer is the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of skin cells. Skin cancer usually arises on skin exposed to the sun, such as the face, lips, ears, scalp, neck, chest, arms and hands and on the legs, especially in women. Malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive skin cancer that tends to spread to other parts of the body. All other types of skin cancers have the potential to be locally invasive and spread to other parts of the body. Nonmelanoma skin cancers are comparatively less aggressive.
Scalp Psoriasis (Psoriasis of the Scalp)
Scalp psoriasis causes red, raised, scaly patches that may extend from the scalp to the forehead and the back of the neck and ears. Symptoms and signs include itching, hair loss, flaking, silvery scales, and red plaques. Treatment includes topical medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, ointments, and soaps, medications, and light therapy.
How to Get Rid of Psoriasis Quickly
Although psoriasis is incurable, it responds to topical and systemic treatments. Topical treatments that may be effective to treat mild psoriasis include creams, lotions, and sprays.
What Is the Main Cause of Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a non-contagious skin disease in which the skin cells grow in numbers faster than normal, producing rashes on the body. Normally, the cells on the surface of the skin are shed as new cells grow beneath. In psoriasis, the swift build-up of skin cells collects on the surface of the skin as scales or plaques. The exact cause of psoriasis is not completely understood. It appears to involve an interplay between a person’s genes, immune system and environment.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
Psoriasis is an incurable skin disease that causes reddish patches of skin topped with a thick layer of dry silvery scales. Psoriasis cannot spread and is not contagious.
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Of all warts, 30% will subside within the first four months of infection. A genital wart is a type of sexually transmitted disease appearing in various sizes and shapes. Some people get a few warts, whereas some get many.
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Medications & Supplements
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.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.