Efudix® - active ingredient fluorouracil - is one of a range of drugs referred to as ' topical anti-cancer', or 'anti-neoplastic' or 'cytotoxic', which are used to treat skin conditions such as sunspots (solar keratoses) generally caused by exposure to the sun or by ageing, and that may otherwise develop into skin cancer. It is also used to treat Bowen's disease. It has been in use as an anti-cancer treatment for more than thirty years.
Abnormal cells, that is cancerous or pre-cancerous cells, in the skin absorb the fluorouracil (also known as '5FU') which blocks the cell's ability to synthesis DNA and the cell dies. Normal cells are not affected.
Efudix®, as a topical treatment, does not penetrate the skin enough to be effective against forms of skin cancer that have taken hold underneath the skin - it is only suitable for those that have formed on or very close to the skin's surface.
Generally the course of treatment runs for a three week period when the cream must be applied twice a day. It is particularly effective for treating multiple sunspots and especially those that are present on the head and scalp.The cream must be applied as a thin layer, avoiding sensitive areas such as the eyes and eyelids, the nose and the lips and ideally using a rubber glove or special applicator (not one made of metal). It can be applied without protection but in this case hands must be washed thoroughly immediately after application.
It is preferable to apply the cream once in the morning and again either in the later afternoon or early evening and it is best to avoid applying it just befroe going to bed. It is also very important to stay out of the sun during the course of treatment - in which case it may be worth waiting until the winter months to start the treatment. Itis also worth taking into account that the treatment does impact the cosmetic appearance of the skin.
Efudix® cream will cause a fair amount of inflammation of the skin - this is a good thing as it shows that the active ingredient is having the right effect. The inflammation normally subsides after about ten days and it can be treated if necessary with a cold compress or medium strength steroid creams.
When used to treat Bowen's disease, the treatment is essentially the same, but the course of treatment lasts 4-6 weeks.
Efudix® is contraindicated for women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Please consult us for more information on this course of treatment.