Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018
Uses of Fluorouracil:
- It is used to treat a precancerous skin problem called actinic keratosis.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Fluorouracil?
- If you have an allergy to fluorouracil or any other part of fluorouracil (topical).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase deficiency.
- If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not take fluorouracil (topical) if you are pregnant.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take fluorouracil (topical).
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with fluorouracil (topical).
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 fluorouracil (topical) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Fluorouracil?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take fluorouracil (topical). 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 may get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
- Talk with your doctor before you use other drugs or products on your skin.
- Most people using fluorouracil (topical) get skin reactions where fluorouracil (topical) is used. These reactions include burning, dryness, irritation, redness, pain, and swelling. Irritation may last for 2 weeks or longer after you stop using fluorouracil (topical). Call your doctor if you get a skin reaction that bothers you.
- Do not give to a child. Talk with your doctor.
- The chance of very bad 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, loose stools (diarrhea), low white blood cell counts, or nerve problems. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine 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 fluorouracil (topical), call your doctor right away.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy during care. You may also need to use birth control for some time after care ends. Talk with your doctor to see if you need to use birth control after you stop fluorouracil (topical).
How is this medicine (Fluorouracil) best taken?
Use fluorouracil (topical) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Do not take fluorouracil (topical) by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
- Wash your hands before and after use. Do not wash your hands after use if putting this on your hand.
- 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 fluorouracil (topical) was used touch anyone else's skin after you have used fluorouracil (topical).
- If you get fluorouracil (topical) in the eyes, flush right away with cool water and get medical help.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- 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.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
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.
- Fever or chills.
- Belly pain.
- Bloody loose stools (diarrhea).
- Throwing up.
- Very loose stools (diarrhea).
- Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
What are some other side effects of Fluorouracil?
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 you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
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 the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
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.
How do I store and/or throw out Fluorouracil?
- 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.
Consumer information use
- 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.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about fluorouracil (topical), 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about fluorouracil topical
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- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
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- En Español
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- Drug class: topical antineoplastics