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Fluorouracil

INFORMATION

Uses

Fluorouracil is used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, testicular cancer., breast cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), blood cancer, lung cancer, bone cancer and urinary bladder cancer.

How it works

Fluorouracil belongs to a class of medicines called pyrimidine analogues. It blocks the process which is essential for cell division as well as cell growth thus resulting in death of cancerous cells.

Common side effects

Application site reaction, Application site irritation, Bloody diarrhea, Burning sensation, Crusting in eyelids, Blood vessel rupture, Discoloration of skin, Skin rash, Skin redness, Skin reaction, Stomach pain, Vomiting, Chills, Fever

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Expert advice

  • Both, women of childbearing potential and men must use appropriate contraception during treatment with fluorouracil and for 6 months after stopping it.
  • Men should seek advice on the conservation of sperm due to the possibility of irreversible infertility due to using fluorouracil.
  • For topical application, wash hands carefully before and after use. Avoid contact with mucous membranes, eyes, eyelids, nostrils, mouth, and on open cuts when applying the cream.
  • Topical use of fluorouracil may make the treated area become red, followed by inflammation/swelling, along with some discomfort and skin erosion followed by eventual healing. This is the expected normal response to the treatment and shows that fluorouracil is working. However, if symptoms worsen, talk to your doctor.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight or other forms of ultraviolet irradiation during topical fluorouracil treatment.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery as fluorouracil may affect your nervous system and cause visual changes.
  • Tell your doctor if you are or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions

Fluorouracil

Q.Is fluorouracil a vesicant?
No, fluorouracil is not a vesicant (irritant)

Q.Is fluorouracil safe?
Fluorouracil is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor

Q.Is fluorouracil a steroid?
No, flurouracil is not a steroid

Q.Is fluorouracil cream chemotherapy?
Fluorouracil is used as chemotherapy for the treatment of cancers

Q.Is fluorouracil cream for warts?
Yes, fluorouracil is used for the treatment of warts

Q.Is fluorouracil the same as efudex?
Efudex is a brand name (trade name) for fluorouracil

Q.Does fluorouracil affect normal skin?
Fluorouracil has minimal effect on the surrounding healthy skin

Q.Does fluorouracil cause hair loss?
Yes, fluorouracil may cause temporary hair loss

Q.Does fluorouracil cause scarring?
No, fluorouracil is not known to cause scarring

Q.Does fluorouracil cause headaches?
Though headache is not a common side effect of fluorouracil, it may occur uncommonly is some

Q.Why does fluorouracil cause fatigue?
As with any chemotherapy for cancer, fluorouracil causes fatigue which is attributed to be of multi-factor origin, but inflammation and anemia are thought to be the most important factors.


Content on this page was last updated on 30 November, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)