Why is this medicine prescribed?
Benzoyl peroxide is used to treat mild to moderate acne.
How should this medicine be used?
Benzoyl peroxide comes in cleansing liquid or bar, lotion, cream, and gel for use on the skin. Benzoyl peroxide usually is used one or two times daily. Start with once daily to see how your skin reacts to this medication. Follow the directions on the package or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use benzoyl peroxide exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than directed by your doctor.
Apply a small amount of the benzoyl peroxide product to one or two small areas you want to treat for 3 days when you begin to use this medication for the first time. If no reaction or discomfort occurs, use the product as directed on the package or on your prescription label.
The cleansing liquid and bar are used to wash the affected area as directed.
To use the lotion, cream, or gel, first wash the affected skin areas and gently pat dry with a towel. Then apply a small amount of benzoyl Peroxide, rub it in gently.
Avoid anything that may irritate your skin (e.g., abrasive soaps or cleansers, alcohol-containing products, cosmetics or soaps that dry the skin, medicated cosmetics, sunlight, and sunlamps) unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
It may take 4 to 6 weeks to see the effects of this medication. If your acne does not improve after this time, call your doctor.
Do not allow medication to get into your eyes, mouth, and nose.
Do not use benzoyl peroxide on children less than 12 years of age without talking to a doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using benzoyl peroxide,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to benzoyl peroxide, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in benzoyl peroxide products. Ask your pharmacist or check the package label for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using benzoyl peroxide, call your doctor.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medicine cause?
Benzoyl peroxide may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dryness or peeling of skin
- feeling of warmth
- slight stinging
Some side effects may be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- burning, blistering, redness, or swelling of the area of the treated area
If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop using benzoyl peroxide and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help:
- throat tightness
- difficulty breathing
- feeling faint
- swelling of the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p ) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor. Benzoyl peroxide is for external use only. Do not let benzoyl peroxide get into your eyes, nose, or mouth, and do not swallow it. Do not apply dressings, bandages, cosmetics, lotions, or other skin medications to the area being treated unless your doctor tells you.
Keep benzoyl peroxide away from your hair and colored fabrics because it may bleach them.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Tell your doctor if your skin condition gets worse or does not go away.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.