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SALICYLIC ACID (Topical)
Some commonly used brand names are:
In the U.S.—
Generic name product may be available in the U.S.
Salicylic acid (sal-i-SILL-ik AS-id) is used to treat many skin disorders, such as acne, dandruff, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis of the skin and scalp, calluses, corns, common warts, and plantar warts, depending on the dosage form and strength of the preparation.
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 salicylic acid for your medical condition.
Salicylic acid 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 salicylic acid, the following should be considered:
Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to salicylic acid. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.
Pregnancy—This medicine may be absorbed through the mother"s skin. Salicylic acid has not been studied in pregnant women. However, studies in animals have shown that salicylic acid causes birth defects when given orally in doses about 6 times the highest dose recommended for topical use in humans. Before using this medicine, make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or if you may become pregnant, especially if you will be using salicylic acid on large areas of your body.
Breast-feeding—Salicylic acid may be absorbed through the mother"s skin. However, topical salicylic acid has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies. Be sure you have discussed the risks and benefits of the medicine with your doctor.
Children—Young children may be at increased risk of unwanted effects because of increased absorption of salicylic acid through the skin. Also, young children may be more likely to get skin irritation from salicylic acid. Salicylic acid should not be applied to large areas of the body, used for long periods of time, or used under occlusive dressing (air-tight covering, such as kitchen plastic wrap) in infants and children. Salicylic acid should not be used in children younger than 2 years of age.
Older adults—Elderly people are more likely to have age-related blood vessel disease. This may increase the chance of problems during treatment with this medicine.
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 prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of salicylic acid, especially if you are using a 5% or stronger salicylic acid preparation. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Proper Use of This Medicine
It is very important that you use this medicine only as directed . Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than recommended on the label, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. To do so may increase the chance of absorption through the skin and the chance of salicylic acid poisoning.
If your doctor has ordered an occlusive dressing (airtight covering, such as kitchen plastic wrap) to be applied over this medicine, make sure you know how to apply it. Since an occlusive dressing will increase the amount of medicine absorbed through your skin and the possibility of salicylic acid poisoning, use it only as directed. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Keep this medicine away from the eyes and other mucous membranes , such as the mouth and inside of the nose. If you should accidentally get some in your eyes or on other mucous membranes, immediately flush them with water for 15 minutes.
To use the cream, lotion, or ointment form of salicylic acid:
To use the gel form of salicylic acid:
To use the pad form of salicylic acid:
To use the plaster form of salicylic acid for warts, corns, or calluses:
To use the shampoo form of salicylic acid:
To use the soap form of salicylic acid:
To use the topical solution form of salicylic acid for acne:
To use the topical solution form of salicylic acid for warts, corns, or calluses:
Unless your hands are being treated, wash them immediately after applying this medicine to remove any medicine that may be on them.
Dosing—The dose of salicylic acid 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 salicylic acid. 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.
Storage—To store this medicine:
Precautions While Using This Medicine
When using salicylic acid, do not use any of the following preparations on the same affected area as this medicine , unless otherwise directed by your doctor:
To use any of the above preparations on the same affected area as salicylic acid may cause severe irritation of the skin.
Check with your doctor right away if you have nausea, vomiting, dizziness, loss of hearing, tinnitus, lethargy hyperpnea, diarrhea, and psychic disturbances. These could be symptoms of a serious condition called salicylate toxicity, especially in children under 12 years of age and patients with kidney or liver problems.
Side Effects of This Medicine
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 any of the following side effects occur:
Less common or rare
Skin irritation not present before use of this medicine (moderate or severe)
Frequency not known
Dryness and peeling of skin; flushing; redness of skin; unusually warm skin
Symptoms of salicylic acid poisoning
Confusion; diarrhea; dizziness; fast or deep breathing; headache (severe or continuing); hearing loss; lightheadedness; nausea; rapid breathing; ringing or buzzing in ears (continuing); severe drowsiness; stomach pain; vomiting
Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:
Skin irritation not present before use of this medicine (mild); stinging
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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