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COAL TAR (Topical)
Some commonly used brand names are:
In the U.S.—
Coal tar is used to treat eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and other skin disorders.
Some of these preparations are available only with your doctor"s prescription. Others are available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper use of coal tar for your medical condition.
Coal tar is available in the following dosage forms:
Before Using This Medicine
If you are using this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For coal tar, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to coal tar or to any other tar. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.
Pregnancy—Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals.
Breast-feeding—It is not known whether coal tar passes into the breast milk. However, this medicine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.
Children—Coal tar products should not be used on infants, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of this medicine in children with use in other age groups.
Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of this medicine in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other topical prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine that is to be applied to the same area of the skin.
Proper Use of This Medicine
Use this medicine only as directed . Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than recommended on the label, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.
After applying coal tar, protect the treated area from direct sunlight and do not use a sunlamp for 72 hours , unless otherwise directed by your doctor, since a severe reaction may occur. Also, make sure you have removed all the coal tar medicine from your skin before you go back into direct sunlight or use a sunlamp.
Do not apply this medicine to infected, blistered, raw, or oozing areas of the skin .
Keep this medicine away from the eyes . If you should accidentally get some in your eyes, flush them thoroughly with water at once.
To use the cream or ointment form of this medicine:
To use the gel form of this medicine:
To use the shampoo form of this medicine:
To use the nonshampoo liquid form of this medicine:
Dosing—The dose of coal tar will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor"s orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of coal tar. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Storage—To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
If this medicine is used on the scalp, it may temporarily discolor blond, bleached, or tinted hair.
Coal tar may stain the skin or clothing . Avoid getting it on your clothing. The stain on the skin will wear off after you stop using the medicine.
Side Effects of This Medicine
In animal studies, coal tar has been shown to increase the chance of skin cancer.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if either of the following side effects occurs:
Skin irritation not present before use of this medicine; skin rash
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your health care professional if the following side effect continues or is bothersome:
Stinging (mild)—especially for gel and solution dosage forms
Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your health care professional.
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