Generic Name: Fluorouracil Brand Name(s): Fluorouracil.

Uses

What is Fluorouracil used for?

Fluorouracil is commonly used on the skin to treat pre-cancerous and cancerous skin growths. Fluorouracil belongs to a class of medications known as anti-metabolites. It works by blocking the growth of abnormal cells that cause the skin condition.

How should I take Fluorouracil?

Use this medication as directed by your doctor. Before you apply this medication to the skin, clean the affected area and dry well. Wait 10 minutes, then apply a small amount of medication to the affected skin, using just enough to cover the area with a thin film. Wash your hands immediately after applying this medication, even if you have used gloves.

The treated area may become unsightly during treatment and in some cases for several weeks after treatment. Do not cover the area with tight dressings or plastic bandages. Check with your doctor whether you may cover the treated area loosely with gauze.

Avoid applying this medication in or around the eyes or eyelids. Also, do not apply this medication inside the nose or mouth. If you do get the medication in these areas, rinse with plenty of water.

Use this medication exactly as prescribed. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor. Do not increase your dose or use it more often than directed. Your condition will not clear faster, but side effects will be increased.

If your condition worsens or does not improve, consult your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

How do I store Fluorouracil?

Fluorouracil is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Fluorouracil in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Fluorouracil that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Fluorouracil down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Fluorouracil?

Before using fluorouracil, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to flucytosine; or to capecitabine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as peanut oil found in some brands), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: a certain enzyme deficiency (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase – DPD).

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: red/irritated/infected/open sores on skin.

This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. After using fluorouracil cream, wait 2 hours before applying sunscreen or moisturizer to the treated area. Do not use other skin products including creams, lotions, medications, or cosmetics unless instructed by your doctor to do so. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.

This medication must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor right away. Consult your doctor for more details and to discuss reliable forms of birth control.

It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Due to the potential risk to a nursing infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Fluorouracil during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Fluorouracil. Fluorouracil is pregnancy risk category X according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Fluorouracil?

Skin irritation, burning, redness, dryness, pain, swelling, tenderness, or changes in skin color may occur at the site of application. Eye irritation (e.g., stinging, watering), trouble sleeping, irritability, temporary hair loss, or abnormal taste in the mouth may also occur.

If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: stomach/abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, signs of infection (e.g., fever, chills, persistent sore throat), easy bruising/bleeding, mouth sores.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Fluorouracil?

Fluorouracil may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Fluorouracil?

Fluorouracil may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Fluorouracil?

Fluorouracil may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Fluorouracil.

What is the dose of Fluorouracil for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Keratosis

0.5% cream (microsphere formulation): Apply to the affected area once a day

1%, 2%, 5% cream or 2%, 5% solution: Apply 2 times a day in an amount sufficient to cover the lesions; continue until the inflammatory response reaches the erosion stage, then discontinue use

-Duration of therapy: 2 to 4 weeks; complete healing of the lesions may not be evident for 1 to 2 months following cessation of therapy

Comments:

-Response starts with erythema, usually followed by vesiculation, desquamation, erosion and reepithelialization.

-Solar keratoses which do not respond to treatment should be biopsied to confirm the diagnosis.

Use: For the topical treatment of multiple actinic or solar keratoses

Usual Adult Dose for Basal Cell Carcinoma

5% cream or solution:

-Apply 2 times a day in an amount sufficient to cover the lesions; continue until the inflammatory response reaches the erosion stage, then discontinue use

-Duration of therapy: 3 to 6 weeks; however, therapy may be required for as long as 10 to 12 weeks before lesions are obliterated

Comments:

-Only the 5% cream or solution is recommended to treat superficial basal cell carcinoma.

-Response starts with erythema, usually followed by vesiculation, desquamation, erosion and reepithelialization.

Use: To treat superficial basal cell carcinomas when conventional methods are impractical, such as with multiple lesions or difficult treatment sites

Other Comments

Administration advice:

-Apply with a nonmetal applicator or glove; if applied with the fingers, the hands should be washed immediately afterward.

-Avoid contact with mucous membranes, eyelids, eyes, nostrils, or mouth.

-Avoid prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light or sunlight.

-Avoid occlusive dressings unless clinically indicated.

General:

-Deep, penetrating or nodular basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas do not usually respond to this drug; it should be used only as a palliative therapy in such cases where no other form of treatment is possible.

-The 0.5%, 1% and 2% strengths should not be used in the treatment of basal cell carcinoma.

What is the dose of Fluorouracil for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Fluorouracil available?

Fluorouracil is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Topical cream
  • Topical solution
  • Topical kit

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Fluorouracil, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: February 1, 2018 | Last Modified: February 1, 2018

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