Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

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RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by Amber77 on Thu Feb 07, 2019 04:36 AM

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First I'd like to thank everyone for the helpful information and insights. I was prescribed efudex last week but I'm fighting to get this covered by my insurance. I'm scared and have anxiety after reading everyone's experiences. I tend to be sensitive to most medications so I guess we'll see how I react. I'm planning on getting stocked up with supplies add I prepare for the next 4-6 weeks. My question is that I am in sales and have to interact with people everyday. Should I plan on taking time off work? I'm thinking that this is what I will need to do but wondered if most people took time off during this treatment. Thanks Amber

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by BiglipsVT on Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:49 AM

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I took time off from work; however, I was fine until a week and a half to two weeks in.  Then the fun began.  My face heart so much, I couldn't wear make up.  My lips swelled up unbelievably.  I was only perscribed for 3 weeks, thankfully.  If anyone has issues with lip swelling, Food Grade diatomaceous Earth is what saved me.  Dusted it on and it kept my lips from sticking together and dried up the oozing blisters.  ( I had tried vaseline with no help).  It is a painful experience, but you should look younger when you are done.  :)

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by BiglipsVT on Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:51 AM

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I would recommend having your time off scheduled for week 2 and beyond.

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by redintheface on Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:19 PM

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Welcome to our site Amber, Everyone reacts differently to this treatment at the beginning, but expect following weeks to be about the same. The first week you might not have much of a reaction, but shortly thereafter expect a sun burn look. I'm hoping your insurance pays for the cream, but other than that you'll probably just need to buy it once depending on the area you're treating. As to working, what I did was tell people ahead of time that I'm going to be undergoing chemotherapy and my skin is going to become unsightly. Everyone is very understanding and sympathic. Strangers in stores will look at you something making you think that you're contagious which you're not. Sometimes depending on the look I just said, "chemotherapy" and their faces immediately took on a different look. So working really depends on your comfort with looks you will get, but also if you're in a clean and infection free enviroment. Another important thing is stay out of the sun, even driving you are in the sun. There are people here who have used a sun block and I was advised I could too, but I never did as I felt it would cut the effectiveness of the treatment. The sun will intensify the effect of the cream. Treatment is not just putting the cream on it's after you've stopped which you will be at your worst. If you're close with the people you see on a regular basis I'd send out an email telling you're going to be undergoing chemotherapy treatment and are going to try to work as long as you can, then it's up to you. You're doing this because you have to, it's not a fun thing, but it is tolerable and you're going to have pretty, new, soft skin. 

Good luck to you

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by redintheface on Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:32 PM

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One place we're advised not to put Efudex is on the lips.  If you have creases around your lips you have to be careful because they will cause the cream to run into the lips. I imagine the diatomaceous earth created a barrier/dam against the cream. How did you come up with putting it on your lips? I'm surprised your doctor didn't tell you not to use make up, but then again, they don't give enough information about what's going to happen either.

Look forward to pretty skin!

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by DianeAurit on Thu Feb 07, 2019 01:07 PM

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Hi!

I ditto everything redintheface wrote. I too went out during my proceedure and just explained to people that it was a chemotheraphy treatment.  I tried to wear makeup at first but once you get towards the third week you will most likely want to stop that too, I know I did.  Good Luck!

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by BiglipsVT on Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:21 AM

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I did not put it on my lips or anywhere near them. My lips blistered up huge and were full of fluid and I would wake up in the morning and they would be stuck together. At first I tried the vaseline and that didn't help. I was looking for something to dry up the blister fluid and DE is the latest miracle and I had some on hand and dusted it on like talcolm powder.  It helped heal things quickly.

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by Amber77 on Fri Feb 08, 2019 02:36 AM

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Thank you so much for all the information and support. Still haven't heard anything from my dermatologist about wether the medicine will be covered. Any recommendations if it's not? The pharmacy said it's $900 if I pay it out of pocket, which I don't have at the moment. I tried the online discount cards and the pharmacy said it's $1300 with the discount card. I don't understand why insurance wouldn't cover it since it's a rather common medical diagnosis. I just turned 41 so my guess is this may be something I have to more than once. I have sun damage from when I was a child but I don't do tanning beds or sun bathe because of my fair skin and red hair. Also my doctor wants me to spot treat only the spots that he found in the office. I'm wondering how common it is for the medicine to bring other spots up to the surface? I'd almost rather do the whole face if this saves me from having to do this anytime in the near future. Amber

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RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by Optimist15 on Fri Feb 08, 2019 03:32 AM

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Brand new here and couldn't find anything about my particular issue with fluorouracil. 

The only area I'm applying the cream is to my left ear. Has anyone else used it on this part of your anatomy? 

Also, how soon should my skin begin to react if there is in fact pre-cancerous cells? 

This thread has been going a long time and looks like it's helping a lot of people. Thank you for being willing to share.

RE: Lessons learned and tips on using Efudex or Carac

by redintheface on Fri Feb 08, 2019 03:55 AM

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I'm wondering if you're not in the US. Our doctors have no idea as to whether or not insurance will cover medications. If you've been prescribed Efudex, the branded cream, maybe you can see if you can get the generic, Fluorouracil cream, USP 5%. I've used both and are equally effective. The generic is less expensive, but still expensive. I'd be cautious about buying online as you have no way of knowing the date of expiration or if it's been handled properly. This is a very common treatment and you might have to do it more than once. I've done it many times, luckily each time the reaction is less and less. Can you call your insurance company directly and ask if they cover it? I didn't sun bath or do tanning beds either, but we did play outside giving me numerous blistering sun burns. As to treating only spots that are visible.... there is the probability that there are other areas that can't been seen that the medicine will bring up. One tube, 40g will treat the whole face easily. I have never treated one area on the face, it's always been the whole face, forehead, temples, cheeks, nose, chin. There are some people who have to be treated every 6 months. I am now treating every other year. Everyone's degree of severity is different and length of treatment is according to that. My first time, years ago, was 6 weeks on face, neck, chest, arms, and hands. Needless to say I was more than a mess. Another doctor I see now will not let that much skin be treated at one time due to risk of infection. What I did last year was treat face only for a month. Off treatment for a month, then treat hands, arms, shoulders and chest. Last year I had less than half a reaction of other years, but doctor predicts there's more hiding waiting to surface so I'll treat again next year. If you talk with your insurance company remind them that's it's a bargain to pay for this cream compared to what cancer costs if you're not treated immediately. In the US it's now winter so it's the perfect time to be treated because it's less sunny and it isn't hot.

Good luck I hope your insurance comes through

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