coal tar topical (generic name)

It is used on the skin to treat a number of skin disorders including eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
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What is this medicine?

COAL TAR (kohl tahr) is used on the skin to treat a number of skin disorders including eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • inflamed, damaged or broken skin
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to coal tar, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for external use only. Follow the directions on the label. Apply only to the affected areas as directed. Rub in gently and completely. Wash your hands well. Do not use more often than directed.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be used on children as young as 2 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Interactions are not expected.

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.

This medicine can stain your skin, nails, hair, or clothing. The color should wash out of your skin, nails and hair a few days after you stop using it. Clothing may be permanently stained.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Unless directed by your doctor or health care professional, avoid exposure to the sun for at least 24 to 72 hours after applying this medicine. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.

Do not apply this medicine to inflamed, broken, burned, or infected skin.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • irritation, swelling or redness

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • increased sensitivity to the sun
  • staining of skin, nails, or clothing
  • stinging

Where should I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Keep container tightly closed. Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Last Updated: April 24, 2009
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