Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 13, 2021.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Sclerosol Intrapleural
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Sclerosing Agent
Uses for talc
Talc is sprayed through a tube into the chest area around the lungs. It is given to people who have breathing problems caused by a buildup of fluid or air in this area. Talc is used after the fluid has been drained out, to prevent the problem from returning.
You may be familiar with talc used as an ingredient in dusting powders (talcum powder). The talc used for preventing fluid buildup in the lungs is a special grade of talc that has been sterilized (made germ-free).
Talc is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of a doctor.
Before using talc
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For talc, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to talc or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of talc powder in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of talc powder in geriatric patients.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of talc. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Other lung disease or breathing problems (eg, pneumonitis, acute respiratory distress syndrome)—Use with caution. May make this condition worse.
Proper use of talc
A doctor will give you talc during a medical procedure, such as a thoracoscopy. Talc is injected through a tube into your chest and around the lungs.
Precautions while using talc
It is very important that your doctor check your closely to make sure that talc is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.
Using talc while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant during treatment and for at least 5 months after the last dose of talc. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell the doctor right away.
Talc could cause infertility (unable to have children). Talk with your doctor before receiving talc if you plan to have children.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using talc. Talc may affect the results of certain medical tests.
Talc side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
- coughing or spitting up blood
- cough with thick mucous
- fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- shortness of breath or troubled breathing
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Bleeding, swelling, warmth, or pain on your skin where the spray tube was inserted
Some of the above side effects could be caused by having a tube placed in your chest or other procedures that were done at the time the talc was used, as well as by the talc. Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about sterile talc
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.