Coal tar ointment
Generic Name: coal tar (kohl tar)
Brand Name: Examples include Fototar and Medotar
Coal tar ointment is used for:
Relieving itching, irritation, redness, dryness, scaling, and flaking of the skin caused by psoriasis, seborrhea, or eczema. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Coal tar ointment is a keratolytic. It works by slowing bacterial growth and loosening and softening scales and crust.
Do NOT use coal tar ointment if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in coal tar ointment
- you have a condition that makes you sensitive to sunlight (eg, lupus, allergy to sunlight)
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using coal tar ointment:
Some medical conditions may interact with coal tar ointment. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you are using any other treatment for psoriasis, including ultraviolet radiation or a prescription medicine
- if you are using coal tar ointment for psoriasis or seborrhea and you also have eczema
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with coal tar ointment. However, no specific interactions with coal tar ointment are known at this time.
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if coal tar ointment may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use coal tar ointment:
Use coal tar ointment as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Wash and completely dry the affected area. Gently rub the medicine in until it is evenly distributed. After several minutes, any excess medicine remaining on the skin may be removed by patting with a clean tissue.
- If you are using coal tar ointment on your scalp, massage into the scalp before bedtime. Cover with a cap and wash out in the morning unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- Wash your hands after using coal tar ointment, unless your hands are part of the treated area.
- If you miss a dose of coal tar ointment, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use coal tar ointment.
Important safety information:
- Avoid getting coal tar ointment in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you get coal tar ointment in your eyes, immediately wash them out with cool tap water.
- Coal tar ointment may be harmful if swallowed. If you may have taken coal tar ointment by mouth, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
- Coal tar ointment may stain hair, skin, and clothing.
- Do not use any other medicine or special cleanser on your skin unless directed by your doctor.
- Do not use coal tar ointment on open, raw, inflamed, or infected skin.
- Do not use coal tar ointment in or around the genital area, groin, or rectum unless you doctor tells you otherwise.
- Do not use coal tar ointment over a large area of your body without first talking to your doctor.
- Do not use coal tar ointment for a prolonged period of time without consulting your doctor.
- Coal tar ointment may cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Avoid exposure to the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to coal tar ointment. Use a sunscreen or protective clothing if you must be outside for a prolonged period.
- Different brands of coal tar ointment may have different dosing instructions for CHILDREN on the package labeling. Follow the dosing instructions provided on the package labeling or by your doctor. If you are unsure of how to use coal tar ointment on a child, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using coal tar ointment during pregnancy. It is unknown if coal tar ointment is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using coal tar ointment, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of coal tar ointment:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Itching, burning, tenderness, or redness; sensitivity to sunlight.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); irritation.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Store coal tar ointment at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep coal tar ointment out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about coal tar ointment, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Coal tar ointment is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take coal tar ointment or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. 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 coal tar ointment. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to coal tar ointment. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using coal tar ointment.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. 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 your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
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