How to Use Efudex

Updated February 21, 2017

Efudex is a topical prescription product used to treat precancerous actinic keratoses and superficial basal cell carcinoma skin lesions. The active ingredient in Efudex is fluorouracil. Fluorouracil works by interfering with the growth of abnormal skin cells. Efudex is available in both a cream and a solution form. Both forms of the medication are equally effective. The solution form of Efudex may be easier to apply on areas of skin that contain a lot of hair growth.

Wash the area to be treated with a gentle cleanser. Rinse off the cleanser and pat the area dry using a clean towel. Wait 10 minutes before applying Efudex.

Apply Efudex to the area of skin that needs treatment, being careful to avoid the eyes, nose, mouth and genitalia. Efudex should be applied twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, or as prescribed by your doctor. To apply Efudex cream, use your fingers or a plastic applicator to apply the cream to the skin. Use the least amount of Efudex cream necessary to cover the area of skin being treated. Gently massage the cream into the skin until it is fully absorbed. To apply Efudex solution, rub the built-in applicator directly onto the skin being treated, while gently squeezing the bottle to release the medication. The solution does not need to be massaged into the skin.

Wash your hands with soap and water to remove Efudex residue from the hands. If your hands are the areas being treated, do not wash your hands.

Avoid sun exposure to areas of skin being treated. If you must go out into the sun, wear protective clothing. You can also ask your doctor if it is all right to wear sunscreen.


Minor skin inflammation, redness, peeling and a minor burning sensation are normal skin reactions that result from using topical Efudex. Contact your doctor if the skin reactions are very bothersome.


Do not use Efudex if you are allergic to fluorouracil. Do not use Efudex if you have a DPD enzyme deficiency. Stop using Efudex and call 911 if you experience facial swelling, difficulty breathing or hives. Do not use Efudex if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Efudex can cause harm to a developing foetus. Ask your doctor before taking Efudex if you are a nursing mother. It is unknown whether Efudex is transferred through breast milk.

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