Generic Name: salicylic acid (Topical route)
Commonly used brand name(s):
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antiacne
Pharmacologic Class: NSAID
Chemical Class: Salicylate, Non-Aspirin
Salicylic acid is used to treat many skin disorders, such as acne, dandruff, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis of the skin and scalp, calluses, corns, common warts, and plantar warts, depending on the dosage form and strength of the preparation.
Some of these preparations are available only with your doctor's prescription.
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Young children may be at increased risk of unwanted effects because of increased absorption of salicylic acid through the skin. Also, young children may be more likely to get skin irritation from salicylic acid. Salicylic acid should not be applied to large areas of the body, used for long periods of time, or used under occlusive dressing (air-tight covering, such as kitchen plastic wrap) in infants and children. Salicylic acid should not be used in children younger than 2 years of age.
Elderly people are more likely to have age-related blood vessel disease. This may increase the chance of problems during treatment with this medicine.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain salicylic acid. It may not be specific to Neutrogena. Please read with care.
It is very important that you use this medicine only as directed. Do not use more of it, do not use it more often, and do not use it for a longer time than recommended on the label, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. To do so may increase the chance of absorption through the skin and the chance of salicylic acid poisoning.
If your doctor has ordered an occlusive dressing (airtight covering, such as kitchen plastic wrap) to be applied over this medicine, make sure you know how to apply it. Since an occlusive dressing will increase the amount of medicine absorbed through your skin and the possibility of salicylic acid poisoning, use it only as directed. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
Keep this medicine away from the eyes and other mucous membranes, such as the mouth and inside of the nose. If you should accidentally get some in your eyes or on other mucous membranes, immediately flush them with water for 15 minutes.
To use the cream, lotion, or ointment form of salicylic acid:
To use the gel form of salicylic acid:
To use the pad form of salicylic acid:
To use the plaster form of salicylic acid for warts, corns, or calluses:
To use the shampoo form of salicylic acid:
To use the soap form of salicylic acid:
To use the topical solution form of salicylic acid for acne:
To use the topical solution form of salicylic acid for warts, corns, or calluses:
Unless your hands are being treated, wash them immediately after applying this medicine to remove any medicine that may be on them.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
When using salicylic acid, do not use any of the following preparations on the same affected area as this medicine, unless otherwise directed by your doctor:
To use any of the above preparations on the same affected area as salicylic acid may cause severe irritation of the skin.
Check with your doctor right away if you have nausea, vomiting, dizziness, loss of hearing, tinnitus, lethargy hyperpnea, diarrhea, and psychic disturbances. These could be symptoms of a serious condition called salicylate toxicity, especially in children under 12 years of age and patients with kidney or liver problems.
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:Less common or rare
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:More common
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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