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What Is Carac®?

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  • Written By: Jillian O Keeffe
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Carac® is a brand of medicine that has the substance fluorouracil as the active ingredient. People with colored or scaly patches as a result of sun exposure may see aesthetic benefits from Carac®, which comes in cream form. This medication is generally considered suitable for adults, for use on the skin on the face and scalp.

Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is the medical term for a particular type of local skin changes from sun exposure. Patches develop which often have different coloration from surrounding skin, such as a brown color, although some can be the same color as the skin. Sometimes the keratoses are rough to the touch and can be scaly. People with naturally pale skin are most prone to this form of keratosis, although anyone who exposes the skin to sun can develop them. Some cases of skin cancer can mimic keratoses, so a doctor's opinion is recommended,

Although actinic keratosis is not dangerous, people who have them may prefer to remove them through Carac® usage. An alternative is liquid nitrogen freezing, which can also remove the patchy cells. The active ingredient of Carac® is fluorouracil, which appears to get into the patchy keratosed cells and prevent proper growth and division, thus killing off the cells. This chemical is present at a concentration of 0.5% in the cream, the rest of which is primarily carrier chemicals, water and preservatives.

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A typical Carac® treatment regime involves a patient applying the cream onto the affected areas of skin once a day. Some discomfort and skin redness can occur when the keratosed cells begin to die off. The cream need only be applied for up to 4 weeks, but a doctor can assess the necessary regimen steps for each patient. For several weeks after the cessation of treatment, the skin may still be irritated.

The most common side effects of the medication are the irritation of the skin and irritation of the eye. Carac® skin irritation can also be made worse by exposure to sunlight. An uncommon group of side effects, which relate to people who do not make a normal level of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase enzyme, include vomiting, chills and blood in the stool. The cream can also cross into the placenta of a pregnant woman and potentially cause developmental problems with the baby, so pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding are not suitable for the treatment.

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