This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
Carac; Efudex; Fluoroplex; Tolak
- It is used to treat a precancerous skin problem called actinic keratosis.
- If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency.
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not take this drug if you are pregnant.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this drug.
- If the patient is a child. Do not give this drug to a child.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- If you are allergic to peanuts, talk with the doctor.
- It may take a few months to see the full effect.
- Skin may look worse before it looks better.
- You can get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds.
- The chance of severe and sometimes deadly side effects is raised in patients who do not have the enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) in the body. These include mouth irritation or sores, diarrhea, low white blood cell counts, or nerve problems.
- This drug can be harmful and even deadly to pets. Do not let pets come in contact with the container or the treated area on your skin. Store this drug out of reach of pets. Throw away or clean the cloth or applicators that were used to put this drug on. Do not put this drug on your clothes, carpet, or furniture. If a pet has chewed the container, come into contact with this drug, swallowed this drug, licked the treated area, or throws up or has a seizure, call your veterinarian right away.
- This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.
- Use birth control to prevent pregnancy during treatment with this drug. You may also need to use birth control for some time after your last dose. Talk with your doctor to see if you need to use birth control after you stop this drug.
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Stomach pain.
- Bloody diarrhea.
- Throwing up.
- Severe diarrhea.
- Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Fever, chills, or sore throat; any unexplained bruising or bleeding; or feeling very tired or weak.
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Change in skin color.
- Most people using this drug get skin reactions where this drug is used. These reactions include burning, dryness, irritation, redness, pain, and swelling. Irritation may last for 2 weeks or longer after you stop using this drug. Call your doctor if you get a skin reaction that bothers you.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Do not take this drug by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
- Do not let this drug build up in the skin folds around your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- If you get this drug in any of these areas, rinse well with water.
- Wash your hands before and after use. If your hand is the treated area, do not wash your hand after use.
- Clean affected part before use. Make sure to dry well.
- Wait 10 minutes after washing affected part before putting drug on skin.
- Put a thin layer on the affected skin and rub in gently.
- Do not use coverings (bandages, dressings) unless told to do so by the doctor.
- Do not put on cuts, scrapes, eczema, or damaged skin.
- Do not put on healthy skin.
- Do not let the skin where this drug was used touch anyone else’s skin after you have used this drug.
- Put on a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not put on 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine. The use of this information is governed by the Lexicomp End User License Agreement, available at https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/solutions/lexicomp/about/eula.
© 2021 UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.