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My experience with efudex


Efudex is a topical lotion that finds and kills pre-cancerous skin cells. When you have a small spot the dermatologist is concerned about, he usually blasts you with liquid nitrogen. But when it’s a larger area, you get efudex.

It was invented by a Dr. Dex and named by his patients.

Okay, I made that up.

Anyway, here’s what happened to me during my treatment. Captions are below the pictures.

This was the first day of treatment. Nothing happens for a while.

After a week, I looked like this.

After two weeks, it was getting pretty nasty and itchy.

Three weeks. Getting worse all the time.

Four weeks. At this point I should note that my doc said I was having a mild to moderate reaction to the treatment. So some people get it a lot worse than this.

After four weeks I stopped the efudex and started using hydrocordisone to calm down the irritation.

I had hoped things would clear faster than this. This is week five — one week after I stopped the efudex.

Six weeks. Still red, but not quite so sore and itchy.

By this point I didn’t need the hydrocortisone cream any more.

Eight weeks out, things are almost back to normal.

So, kids, wear your sunscreen and a hat. You need vitamin D, so get out in the sun, but keep your exposure regulated. Don’t get burned.


Talkback x 8

  1. RootCzar
    19 February 2012 @ 6:46 pm


  2. Mark
    24 April 2013 @ 12:54 pm

    Just been told to use this. The area is smaller than yours, seems like you needed to treat the entire forehead!!
    Better than cancer I suppose.

  3. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    24 April 2013 @ 12:56 pm

    Yes, it is better than cancer.

    There is another medicine that my dermatologist asked me to use recently on the top of my head. It didn’t have nearly as ugly a reaction, and I only had to use it for three days. I can’t remember the name of it, but I’m sure your dermatologist would know about it. You might ask if there are other options before starting efudex!

  4. Dave
    23 October 2013 @ 10:57 am

    Greg – the name of the 3 day medicine is Picato. I tried that first. Efudex is second.

  5. Greg Krehbiel GregK
    23 October 2013 @ 11:00 am

    Right. That’s the one. It’s a much easier regimen!

  6. jim
    7 December 2013 @ 3:38 pm

    Hi. I’ve been applying (once a day) Efudex for two weeks now with little reaction. My condition is very simila to that of yours. How heavy did you apply the cream?

  7. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    7 December 2013 @ 4:01 pm

    Hi Jim. I don’t recall anything special about it how much. Just the way I’d do sunscreen or something like that.

    I’m pretty sure the severity of the reaction depends on how much sun damage you have.

  8. jim
    13 December 2013 @ 7:34 pm

    Thanks, started applying it heavier and am now getting a good reaction.

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