Efudex vs. Aldara, Zyclara

Are Efudex and Aldara, Zyclara the Same Thing?

Efudex (fluorouracil) topical and Aldara, Zyclara (imiquimod) topical (for the skin) are used to treat scaly overgrowths of skin (actinic or solar keratoses). Efudex and Aldara, Zyclara may also be used in the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma.

Aldara, Zyclara also treats genital warts that appear on the outside of the body, but is not a cure for genital warts.

Belong to different drug classes. Efudex is an antineoplastic antimetabolite and Aldara, Zyclara is an immune response modifier.

Side effects of Efudex and Aldara, Zyclara that are similar include treatment area reactions (such as skin redness, swelling, irritation, burning, dryness, pain, tenderness, itching, thickening/hardening of the skin, peeling/flaking/scabbing/crusting, or leaking a clear fluid), or changes in skin color at the site of application.

Side effects of Efudex that are different from Aldara, Zyclara include rash, eye irritation (e.g., stinging, watering), trouble sleeping, irritability, temporary hair loss, or abnormal taste in the mouth.

Side effects of Aldara, Zyclara that are different from Efudex include dizziness, chest pain, back pain, cold sores, fever blisters, cold symptoms (such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat), flu-like symptoms (such as fever, tiredness, muscle aches), nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or vaginal itching or discharge.

Both Efudex and Aldara, Zyclara may interact with other prescription or over-the-counter skin products used at the same time.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Efudex?

Common side effects of Efudex include:

  • skin irritation,
  • burning,
  • redness,
  • dryness,
  • pain,
  • swelling,
  • tenderness,
  • scaling,
  • peeling (exfoliation),
  • rash,
  • changes in skin color at the site of application, or other local reactions.
  • Other side effects of Efudex include eye irritation (e.g., stinging, watering),
  • trouble sleeping,
  • irritability,
  • temporary hair loss, or
  • abnormal taste in the mouth.

Tell your doctor if you have rare but very serious side effects of Efudex including:

What Are Possible Side Effects of Aldara, Zyclara?

Common side effects of Aldara, Zyclara include:

  • treatment area reactions such as skin redness, swelling, itching, irritation, dryness, burning, pain, tenderness, thickening/hardening of the skin, peeling/flaking/scabbing/crusting, or leaking a clear fluid.
  • Changes in skin color of the treated area may occur and may not go away.
  • Other side effects of Aldara, Zyclara topical include headache,
  • dizziness,
  • chest pain,
  • back pain,
  • cold sores,
  • fever blisters,
  • cold symptoms (such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat),
  • flu-like symptoms (such as fever, tiredness, muscle aches),
  • nausea,
  • diarrhea,
  • loss of appetite, or
  • vaginal itching or discharge.

What Is Efudex?

Efudex (fluorouracil) topical contains an antineoplastic antimetabolite used to treat scaly overgrowths of skin (actinic or solar keratoses). Efudex may also be used in the treatment of superficial basal cell carcinoma. It works by causing the death of cells that are growing fastest, such as abnormal skin cells. Efudex is available in generic form.

What Is Aldara, Zyclara?

Aldara, Zyclara (imiquimod) topical (for the skin) is an immune response modifier used to treat actinic keratosis (a condition caused by too much sun exposure) on the face and scalp. Aldara, Zyclara is also used to treat a minor form of skin cancer called superficial basal cell carcinoma, when surgery would not be an appropriate treatment. Aldara, Zyclara also treats genital warts that appear on the outside of the body, but is not a cure for genital warts. Aldara, Zyclara topical is available in generic form.

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What Drugs Interact With Efudex?

Do not use other prescription or over-the-counter skin products without first talking to your doctor during treatment with Efudex topical. They may interfere with treatment or increase irritation to the skin. Other drugs may also interact with Efudex topical. Talk to your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Efudex topical must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm a fetus. It is not known if this medication passes into breast milk. Due to the potential risk to a nursing infant, breastfeeding is not recommended while using this drug.

What Drugs Interact With Aldara, Zyclara?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied Aldara, Zyclara. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell your doctor all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Aldara, Zyclara should be used only when prescribed. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

How Should Efudex Be Taken?

The dose of Efudex topical is to apply a small amount of the cream to the area that is to be treated, once or twice daily after cleansing. Treatment lasts 2-6 weeks depending on the condition being treated. Wash hands immediately afterward.

How Should Aldara, Zyclara Be Taken?

Aldara, Zyclara Cream should be applied 2 times per week for a full 16 weeks to a defined treatment area on the face or scalp (but not both concurrently). Before applying the cream, the patient should wash hands and the treatment area with mild soap and water and allow the area to dry thoroughly. Avoid contact with eyes, lips and nostrils.

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References
SOURCE:

FDA. Efudex Prescribing Information.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2005/016831s049lbl.pdf

FDA. Aldara Prescribing Information.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/020723s022lbl.pdf

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