Efudex or Fluorouracil is a type of medication that is used when curing certain types of skin growths called actinic or solar keratoses that may lead to cancer. It is also used to cure slow-growing malignant tumors that may appear on certain areas of the face like the lips, eyelids, or nostrils. Efudex treats other types of cancers as well, like breast, colon, stomach, and pancreatic cancer. It comes in cream or solution form and is applied to the affected area continuously for a period of two to four weeks until dead skin comes off. The healing process begins after this period of treatment and takes about one to two months. During this time, it is very important to take extra precautions in caring for the skin in order to benefit from the effects of Efudex.
The following are instructions to consider during the healing process:
- There are two types of antibiotics that are usually prescribed by doctors after treatment with Efudex. These are Mupirocin 2% and a corticosteroid Fluticasone Propionate 0.05 % which are topical creams combined and applied on the affected area twice or thrice daily. This is normally given on the first two days after treatment and may have side effects like bleeding and stinging or swelling of the eyes.
- From the fourth to the sixth day of healing, you will experience more cracking of the skin and a certain amount of pain. Take an analgesic like Tylenol to help in alleviating the pain.
- Make sure to use sunscreen to protect your healing skin from sun exposure. You may still experience a certain degree of pain along with the cracking of your skin.
- Take note of adverse reactions to this drug. If you experience bleeding gums, bloody diarrhea, severe stomach pains, vomiting or other abnormal symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
- Regular visits to your doctor are a must. He will be able to tell if you are healing nicely and advice you as to when you can stop medications.
- Continue applying your medications until otherwise recommended by your doctor. On the eighth to tenth day, there may be a noticeable tightness on your skin, flakes coming off when you wash, and pinkish skin appearing around the affected area.
- On the twelfth to the fourteenth day of healing, medication can be discontinued and although you may still experience some itchiness, the pain will have been reduced greatly.
- Do not apply pressure on the affected areas of your skin. By the 36th day, complete recovery may be expected though with some people, recovery may come even sooner.
Efudex is an effective drug but must be used only when prescribed by your physician. It should not be used when one is pregnant, breastfeeding or is allergic to the drug. It must also be used cautiously on people with low immune status, low platelet counts and other infections. This is why it cannot be stressed enough that when using this drug, it is a must that it be administered under the close supervision of a physician.