This medication is used on the skin to treat the itching, scaling, and flaking due to skin conditions such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis. Coal tar belongs to a class of drugs known as keratoplastics. It works by causing the skin to shed dead cells from its top layer and slow down the growth of skin cells. This effect decreases scaling and dryness. Coal tar can also decrease itchiness from these skin conditions.
How to use coal tar topical
Follow all directions on the product package. Check the label to see if you need to shake the product before using. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is for use on the skin only. To avoid irritation, do not let this medication come into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, groin, or rectum. If you do get the medication in those areas, flush the area with cool water for 15 minutes. Wash hands after use.
Apply a small amount to the affected area. Massage in gently. Apply usually 1 to 4 times a day or as directed by your doctor. Allow to air dry before touching clothing. Do not apply to broken or infected skin unless directed by your doctor.
To treat the scalp, apply the solution according to the package directions. Coal tar products may also be used in the bath or as a hand/foot soak. Follow package directions carefully. Rinse off well. Coal tar products can make the shower/bath very slippery. Be careful not to fall.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, product type/brand, and response to treatment. Do not use large amounts of this medication, use it more often, or use it for a longer period than directed. Your condition will not clear faster, but the chance for side effects may be increased.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day.
Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse. If your skin condition covers a large area of skin, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.
Skin/scalp irritation or staining of skin/hair (especially in patients with blonde, bleached, dyed, or gray hair) may occur. If skin irritation develops or worsens, stop using this product and tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that your doctor 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.
Long-term use of this product can cause hair follicle problems (tar acne). Contact your doctor if you notice new skin bumps and/or acne in the treated area.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using coal tar, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; 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.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Be sure to completely wash off the medication before light treatment or going out into the sun as directed by your doctor. Avoid sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps for at least 24 hours after using this medication unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Other medications may also increase your sun sensitivity. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
This product may stain clothing. Avoid allowing this medication to touch clothing before it dries.
If your doctor has prescribed this medication for you, do not share it with others.
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. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store tightly closed at room temperature. Different brands of this medication may have different storage requirements. Refer to the package labeling or ask your pharmacist for the storage requirements for the brand you are using. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Some products may contain alcohol and are flammable. Do not use near heat or open flame or while smoking.
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.
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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.