This medication is used on the hair/scalp to treat dandruff and other scaly, itchy skin conditions (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 Polytar (Coal Tar) Shampoo
Follow all directions on the product package. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is for use on the hair and scalp 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. Do not apply to broken or infected skin unless directed by your doctor.
Wet hair/scalp thoroughly. Apply a generous amount of coal tar shampoo and massage into a lather. Allow lather to remain on scalp for several minutes. Rinse thoroughly and repeat. To help keep this product out of your eyes, keep eyes closed while shampooing. Protect eyes with a washcloth or towel.
Use this product usually twice a week or as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, your 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.
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.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention 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 shampoo, 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.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Be sure to completely wash off the medication before going out into the sun. 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.
If your doctor has directed you to use this product, 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.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may 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 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.
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 medicines away from children and pets.
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.
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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.