What is Efudix?
How does Efudix work?
What conditions are treated with Efudix?
Efudix is mainly used in the treatment of Actinic Keratoses, a precancerous skin condition It is also used for:
- Bowen’s Disease – an extremely superficial form of SCC
- Severely sun damaged skin
Why is Efudix NOT able to treat most skin cancers?
Is there any systemic absorption of 5FU?
How effective is Efudix?
What about the Efudix treatment reaction?
For Efudix to be an effective treatment it must kill the abnormal cells. When this occurs, typically there is a “reaction” in the skin. This reaction develops slowly over the first week, with the affected skin appearing red and slightly scaly. In the second week the reaction intensifies with increasing redness, crusting and scabbing of individual lesions. The treated area may become swollen, itchy and somewhat uncomfortable. Many more lesions than were initially apparent become obvious. Typically the reaction looks worse than it feels!
Treatment usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks depending on the anatomical area. This reaction is entirely normal and should be expected by all patients. The greater the number of abnormal cells in the skin, the stronger the reaction, and the better the long term results.
It is important not to stop the treatment because of concern regarding the reaction. Once the 5FU is ceased, other creams may be used to settle the reaction, which usually subsides quite quickly. The treated area will remain red for some time after the acute healing has occurred and again this is a sign of a good clinical response.
Apart from the expected reaction, are there any other side effects?
- Formation of fine blood vessels
- Loss of pigmentation
- Sun sensitivity
- True allergy to 5FU or to other cream components occurs rarely and usually only after multiple usage.
As described earlier, mild nausea, anorexia, tiredness and lethargy are very occasionally seen.