Salicylic acid is used on the skin to treat psoriasis and other dry, scaly skin conditions. This medication is also used to help remove dead skin from warts, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. It belongs to the same class of drugs as aspirin (salicylates). This medication should not be used in children younger than 2 years.
Salicylic acid causes the skin to shed dead cells from its top layer by increasing the amount of moisture in the skin and dissolving the "cement" between the cells. This makes it easier to shed the skin cells, softens the top layer of skin, and decreases scaling and dryness.
Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist. This medication is for use on the skin only.
For best results, soak the skin area in warm water for at least 5 minutes before using this medication. After soaking, gently wipe off any loose skin with a clean, soft cloth. Do not rub. Apply a thin film of medication to the affected area, once daily at bedtime or as directed by your doctor. Cover the area loosely if directed by your doctor. When you wake up, gently wash off the medication. Wash hands after use, unless you are using this medication to treat the hands.
If you are using the foam, shake the can well before using. Before using a new can, prime the container by pressing down for 3 to 5 seconds until foam appears. Spray the foam onto the hand, then apply. After applying the foam, gently rub it in until it disappears.
Moisture is very important to help the medication work, so your doctor may direct you to cover the treated area to help hold moisture next to the skin. Do not cover the area with ointment, plastic/waterproof bandages, tight-fitting clothing, or tight dressings unless directed by your doctor. Doing so may increase side effects. If you are treating an area that is difficult to cover, your doctor may direct you to moisten the skin with wet packs or baths or to use the medication more frequently. Use exactly as prescribed.
This medication may be used on the body, the scalp, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. Avoid your eyes, nostrils, mouth, and genitals. If contact occurs, flush the area with cool water for 15 minutes. Be careful when applying this medication because it can irritate normal skin around the treated area.
Do not use large amounts, apply it more often, or use it for a longer time than directed. Your condition will not clear faster, but the chance for side effects may be increased.
You will usually see some improvement in 2 to 3 days, but it may take longer to get the full benefit. Once your skin has improved, your doctor may direct you to use this product only occasionally or to stop using it. Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Burning, redness, and peeling skin near the treated area may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
People who use this drug for a long time or over large areas of skin may rarely have serious side effects caused by this drug entering the bloodstream. Children younger than 12 years and people with liver or kidney problems are more at risk. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but serious side effects occur: unexplained nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, rapid breathing, dizziness, hearing problems (such as ringing in the ears, hearing loss), mental/mood changes, tiredness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before using salicylic acid, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to aspirin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Children may be at greater risk for rare side effects from absorbing this medication into the bloodstream. (See Side Effects for more information.) This drug is similar to aspirin. Children and teenagers should not use this drug if they have chickenpox, flu, or any undiagnosed illness or if they have recently received a vaccine. In these cases, this drug may increase the risk of Reye's syndrome, a rare but serious illness.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
If you have recently received the medication listed above, or plan to receive it, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting salicylic acid.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially: methotrexate, other aspirin/salicylate products, "water pills" (diuretics).
Tell your doctor of any over-the-counter aspirin products you may take and any cosmetic skin products you may use. If you have bothersome dry skin and/or irritation, ask your doctor or pharmacist about using moisturizing creams or lotions.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Avoid getting this medication on clothing, wood, plastic, metal, or other surfaces because it can cause damage.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store at room temperature away from heat and light. Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Store the foam canister upright at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C). Do not freeze. Do not store at temperatures above 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). The contents of this canister are under pressure. Do not burn or puncture the canister.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised March 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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