Just finished 2-week course of Carac for Actinic Keratosis
49 year-old male, just finished with a 2-week daily application of Carac. Week 1, everything was red and very painful. Sinus headaches, couldn't sleep unless I took two Tylenol. About day 7 everything started peeling, and I was having digestion problems, and my vision would sometimes get worse, although the sinus headaches went away, as did the insomnia.
My dermatologist told me that one week of Carac kills off the surface AKs, and any time after that kills off any other bad cells that are waiting in the wings.
At the end of the two weeks, my dermatologist gave me four tubes of EpiCream, a skin barrier emulsion, to apply 2 times per day. The skin where I applied the Carac is lobster red, raw, and shiny. The EpiCream feels soothing, but now I'm wondering how long it will take until the redness goes away?
It has been about 3 weeks since I finished my 2 week treatment. I really couldn't go outside because I looked horrible. Now my cheeks are only slightly red and I have a few spots on the sides of my face. Big improvement since last week! I'm not peeling anymore but my face is a little itchy. Hang in there, it will get better.
A word of encouragement. I just finished 21 days of Carac treatment on my face. I was fine. It felt a bit hot and itchy when I would sweat (it is July). No other side effects. My face peeled twice since stopping treatment. Hopefully this stuff did what it was supposed to do. I am a 64 yo female with pale freckled skin. We used to cover ourselves with baby oil and iodine when we were young. Burn and blister! Now the results!
I am on Carac for my lower legs, I use once daily for 4 weeks. I will finish my 4 weeks on Sunday. Not much of a reaction until week 2 and it gets worse each day. My lower legs look like they are covered in chickenpox, scaly, scabby and more painful each day. Even the covers on my bed hurts my lower legs. I have cats and when they rub up against me I want to scream. I am lucky I can hide them in pants. Four more days of cream and then the healing can start. I know I will be happy with the end results...it's just getting there now.
I just finished a 4 week application of Carac for basel cell carcenoma - After the first 2 weeks it just felt like a really bad sunburn. My doctor told me to apply it to my cheeks, nose and forehead. Within a couple of weeks - My face looked like it was the recipient of a shotgun blast. Was really getting some strange looks at my work - And working in a heavy traffic public area a lot of 2nd glances I noticed. This is day 3 without the application and the skin is still peeling but the red blotches are already fading though it is still warm to the touch and feels like a bad sunburn but I am sure that will fade in time.
I am in day 10 of a 21 day treatment. Feeling all of the typical, burning, peeling, dryness. Just applied Aquaphor from Walgreen's. Seem to help. Does anyone know do I still need to put carac on the areas that have already peeled off?
I am a 61 yr old female - AK on top and bottom lip. I went through several rounds of cryro surgery but it kept returning in one spot; the biopsy confirmed AK. My 3rd dermatologist has me use carac 1x week - for 6 months! I'm approaching week #11 this Friday. Anyone heard of this course of treatment? I'm miserable and the doc doesn't believe in pain meds. After a course of treatment my lips burn and itch and feel like there are "creepy crawlers" inside. I have even used ItchX and NumYou (from the doc) that burns so bad I tear up, but that burn is actually better than the itch and other discomfort. Not sure I can go through another 3-1/2 months. Acquaphor helps after the burning cream but it always comes back. I'm miserable and have lost sleep and it certainly is affecting my work. Any suggestions?
I used Carac for 21 days on a patch of AK above my eyebrow with good results. It was impressive to see how it seemed to target the worst areas first, although it eventually lit up the entire area I treated and was rather embarassing. I would recommend applying it with disposable rubber gloves - I cut off the fingers so one glove would last for 5 applications. I feel for the people who have treated such large areas, it was recommended to me that I not get carried away by treating too much at a time. I am tempted to treat some additional areas with the left over cream, but my plan is to check with my dermatologist and do very small areas at any one time. Mine healed up fairly quickly and feels nice and smooth, although there is a little swelling still in one spot. Better than the rough, scaly skin before, and certainly better than cancer. I work with a woman who had her AK burned off, and she still has the scars 2 years later. Think I will take a little embarassment over that!
I've been on Carac for 2 weeks now and my face on the left side looks like I got shot with a shotgun. It seems that's the description used by most. I went back to the Dr today and he told me to continue the treatment for another 2 weeks. I was hoping I was done but kinda expected I would be told to continue after reading all the posts on this form. It seems the standard duration is about 4 weeks. I've been putting the Carac on once a day before bed. The Dr did tell me I could skip a day if the discomfort got to bad. It hasn't been all that uncomfortable especially after I put on the Aquaphor. I am very self conscious of my appearance however and feel like climbing in to a hole and not coming out until its all cleared up. The Dr did tell me that it would probably get worse looking before it got better. UGH.. I have to interface with a lot of people at work and know they are looking at me like I have leprosy or some other contagious disease..I love being outdoors and did notice how sensitive my face is in the sun now. The nornmal buring sensation I feel is magnified in the direct sunlight. I will try the sun screen this weekend and hopefully that helps along with a rather large hat.
KMLakewood - The 1X per week dose seems so much different than the typical 1X or 2X per day the rest of us had. I went through a 2 week, then a 3 week treament on different parts of my body. For each one it was as everyone described here: red ugly blisters, people at work saying "whats wrong with your face" and such but, for each treatment, 10 days later my skin is baby smooth.
Just finished my 3rd week on Carac. My face appearance has changed from the shotgun look to that of a burn victim. Its sore, with a lot of pealing. I've had a few spots where the skin has broken through and I get a very slight bleed. Its especially uncomfortable after I shave as would be expected. When the skin dries up it shrinks and I get a feeling of tightness on my face. I've been putting Curel for the past few days as suggest by my Dr. It doesn't moisturize the face as well as Aquaphor but then it also doesn't make the skin as shinny. It seems when the inflamed area is shinny it stands out more. When I'm home and not out in public I use Aquaphor because it seems to do a better job of knocking down the pain and keeping it moist. Only 5 more days to go then I hope to see the improvement.
Finish second week tomorrow. It is more painful than I thought that it would be but a glass of good Bourbon before bedtime sure helps.
I thought I was the only prson in the world going through this, so it is nice to see that I have a lot of company. I'm a 63 yr old male and now realize that all the dumb things you did prior to your 30's come back to haunt you later in life.
As the great Mickey Mantle said: "If I'd known that I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself".
I have just completed my second week of Carac on my bottom lip and so far the side effects are minimal with some sweeling,redness and burning but none of the other terrible things I've read. Any information on using it on your lips I'd appreciate it and also my doctor hasn't told me not to use anything else so I'm still putting on lipstick and chapstick.
I have also just finished week two of a 3-week, 2X a day treatment of carac. I am a 46 year old male that was a former red headed boy before shaving my head years ago. I expected the worst and based on the limited, horrifying information I found on the net procrastinated from using the cream for 6 months. Week one showed some highlighting around the eyes and temples, week two was blotchy red and starting week three I look like I spent 45 minutes in a tanning bed with goggles on. Pain has been minimal, but as a bank President, I have been somewhat self-conscious about my appearance. I will be glad when this is over and I can start healing. Peeling has been minimal as has been scabbing or bleeding.
Your experiences are interesting. I have finished my Carac treatment on my chest, and I am totally red and raw. I am in such extreme pain sometimes that I don't know how long I can bear it. I also have no pain medicine, and nothing touches the intense itching/burning....feels like fire and itches much worse than poison oak. Vaseline helps some.....sometimes....and sometimes everything just makes the burning/itching worse. I can tolerate nothing around my neck or on my chest......nothing!! Can't sleep, can't get comfortable. Terrible. I am so hoping for some rest and relief. I want to keep it clean, but no shower tonight.......and maybe not even tomorrow night. Being alone, I don't want to pass out. How long before I can tolerate anything touching it again??
I just finished my once a day Carac for 4 weeks. This has not been a pleasant experience by any stretch. I have found that when I get home in the evening, I head straight to the shower and gingerly pat myself dry. I then spread on Aquaphor fairly liberaly. That helps me quite a bit plus keeping on Tylenol every 6 hours. I take 2 of the Arthritis Tylenol at bedtime as it is a timed release version and carries me over for 8 hours.
Then its a shower in the AM and start the poison all over again.
I go back to the Derm in 2 weeks and I'll find out if we accomplished anything. I really wouldn't want to go through it again, but it beats MOHS surgery for skin cancer. I've found thast I've become somewhat reclusive and take my 6 month old puppy for walks when it is getting dark. Less 'splainin' to do that way.
Agreed that the Carac regimen is preferable to another Mohs surgery. I've had both and will soon do the Carac for another 4 weeks. Did my entire face 2 years ago w/o much problem. Will soon do just the forehead and front scalp area. Was very pleased with the results last time. Too bad it takes weeks to undergo this....
My derm was thrilled with the results and wants me to do it again but this time on the top half of my face; eyes to scalp. I originally did eyes to below the chin. We both agreed that I would start after the new year so not to look like "Gargoyle Man" for the large family Christmas party we have every year.
Though not looking forward to it, at least I'll know what to expect. A glass of bourbon, 2 Arthritis Timed Release Tylenol and a liberal coating of aquaphor and I'll make it through each night another round.