This medication is used on the skin to treat the itching, scaling, and flaking due to skin conditions such as 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.
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 he or she 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.
Long-term use of this product can cause hair follicle problems (tar acne). Contact your doctor if you notice new skin bumps and/or acne in the treated area.
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.
Before using coal tar, 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 should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: current severe flare-up of psoriasis.
Your doctor may direct you to use another medication such as a steroid cream (for example, triamcinolone) before using this product.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: skin conditions (such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis) that cover a large area of the body.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Be sure to completely wash off the medication before light treatment or going out into the sun as directed by your doctor. 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.