Efudex: No Time Like the Present?

Efudex is one of the great mysteries of my life. I say that in all seriousness. The more I’ve used it, the more questions arise. One of the questions that always begs answering is, “When is the best time to treat my skin?” I have done a lot of thinking before writing this piece. Before beginning my writing, I wanted to be sure not to mislead anyone, and I can only speak from my personal experience and from the advice I have received from my own dermatologist.

What is the best time to use Efudex?

As far as using Efudex to treat precancerous spots, I am not sure there is an ideal time to which all users will agree. However, one thing is certain - almost no one wants the rest of the world to watch the dramatic changes that can occur as the chemotherapy cream begins to work its magic. It’s difficult to be your best self while on Efudex. Even the strongest among us struggle to find that perfect time to use the cream.

That being said, I have to admit that the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a pretty good time to get a round of Efudex out of the way. I am not due for treatment right now, but if it loomed on my horizon, I would certainly be on the phone with my dermatologist to ask for the go-ahead. If you have been putting off using your tube of fluorouracil, also known as Efudex, now might be your best bet. Making a telehealth appointment or contacting your dermatologist via your clinic’s app is the first step to ensuring that quarantine and a round of Efudex are a good match for you.

Using Efudex during COVID-19

I can’t stop thinking of how convenient it would be to get a round of Efudex out of the way while being quarantined right now. Though there aren’t many things that can be called “appealing” about topical chemotherapy treatments, there are several things about this sweeping quarantine that would make treatment a little less daunting right now:

1. Working from home

If you are one of the thousands whose job has transitioned from the office to a home base right now, facing the outside world with red, irritated skin is practically a non-issue. You may find yourself appreciating this type of confinement while coping with Efudex.

2. Feeling blah

Many Efudex users report side effects of nausea, headaches, and a general feeling of fatigue. There’s no place like home when those feelings begin to take hold. While quarantining and staying safe from COVID-19, you’ll find comfort in being able to deal with any unwanted side effects while nesting at home. In addition, it’s easy to feel isolated from others while treating. With isolation being the name of the COVID-19 game, the notion of missing out on life may not be as overwhelming.

3. Those masks!

The masks we are all being encouraged to wear when making trips to the store for essential items will come in handy. Most masks and bandanas fit loosely enough so as not to irritate or rub against the skin. Treated areas tend to be red, inflamed, and sore. A mask, bandana, or handkerchief can serve two purposes for Efudex patients. While you protect yourself and others from exposure, you can also cover the treated area and avoid conversations for which you might not be prepared.

4. Time is on your side

Let’s face it, we have found ourselves with some extra time on our hands. Most Efudex treatments are prescribed for anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks. Cases vary, and dermatologists approach treatments differently with each patient. When you figure in up to a week or so of healing/recovery, these extra days at home will come in handy.

Weigh your options, friends. Each week, I see friends who are debating starting Efudex as they hold onto their tube and consider how it will fit into their lives. Think about your own quarantine situation, the current state of your own health, and consult with your prescribing physician. For you and your tube of Efudex, there may be no time like the present.

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