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Antimetabolites are meds administered for treating conditions such as skin cancers, leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma, etc. Such meds are also prescribed to avoid rejection of organs soon after a transplant procedure. Active chemicals used in antimetabolites reduce the rate of growth of cancer cells. As a result, there is lesser need for transfusion of blood. Fluorouracil cream is a topical form of antimetabolite med. The 5% cream is widely prescribed. But, do you know how long does it take for fluorouracil cream to work? It becomes important to know more.

Actinic keratosis is a skin-related condition that can occur when you are exposed to longer spells of sunlight. It shows up as a rough, raised patch on your skin. If left untreated, this skin condition may turn into skin cancer. Timely treatment of it can help prevent further deterioration of skin cells. Of the many meds used for actinic keratosis, drugs belonging to a genre called nucleoside antimetabolites like fluorouracil cream are commonly used.

So, what is fluorouracil cream?

This cream is essentially a topical form of antimetabolite. Upon being used during pre-cancer conditions like actinic keratosis, it can stop cells from multiplying further. Today, this cream is considered the most preferred option for treating actinic keratosis. The treatment plan is often for a lesser duration i.e., spanning 14 to 21 days’ time. However, the cream can trigger a few counterproductive reactions on your skin.

Moreover, women who are pregnant must stay away from using this cream. Use of fluorouracil cream during pregnancy may cause fetal damage. Also, the use of this cream is not fully studied and understood among younger patients, especially in children. The dosage plan necessitates its use twice on a daily basis.

How long does it take for fluorouracil cream to work?

In order the obtain better results, apply a thin film of this cream on affected parts of your skin. The standard medication plan spans a period of 3 to 4 weeks. However, you are advised to use it for more than 5 weeks’ time for complete remedy from skin conditions such as actinic keratosis.

For better outcomes, you are advised to use the cream on the same site every time. It generally takes up to 2 weeks’ time for the drug to start working. Upon applying it at the same site, the odds of faster healing turn bright.

Beware of a few adverse effects fluorouracil cream can cause. These can include inflammation of the affected site, itchiness, irritation of skin, a burning sensation, etc. In some rare cases, pain in your tummy as well as a few abdominal problems like traces blood in stools, discharge of loose stool, nausea, etc. have also been reported.

In this light, it is important not to use an overdose. So, upon sensing traces of healing, talk to your caregiving team about when to stop using this cream.

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Safe use of fluorouracil cream

This cream is strictly used for topical purposes only. It is not a good thing to apply it on sensitive organs like mouth or your eyes. It can be unsafe to apply it on open wounds as it may lead to irritation or discoloration of skin. It is harmful to cover the site with bandage or dressing. Such practices may lead to reactions on otherwise unaffected skin closer to the bandaged area.

It is not clear if fluorouracil cream (and its key chemicals) can enter into mother’s milk. It becomes essential to speak with your skin doctor / dermatologist if you are nursing an infant. You are advised to store it at ambient temperature. Ensure the storage area is dry; also, never freeze it because this practice can make this cream to turn less effective. Talk to your physician about how long does it take fluorouracil cream to work, and get needful clarifications.


Information provided here are only of supplementary nature. Information shared here does not substitute a qualified doctor’s advice. This website is not suggesting intake of this drug as safe or appropriate. Hence it is advised to talk to your doctor before consuming this med or any other drug.

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