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Known interactions

No interactions found.

Description of Tarpaste

Brand Name(s): Aquatar, Estar, Fotobar, MG 217, Tarpaste, Tru-Tar Topical, psoriGel

Generic Name Coal Tar Topical

What is coal tar skin cream, ointment, lotion, or gel?

COAL TAR (Fotobar®, Estar®, Tru-Tar®, MG 217®, Tar Doak®, Tarpaste®, Aquatar®, psoriGel®) is applied to the skin to treat a number of skin disorders including dermatitis, seborrhea, eczema, and psoriasis. Some generic forms of coal tar cream, ointment, lotion and gel are available.

What should my health care professional know before I use coal tar?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • inflamed, damaged or broken skin
  • exposure to sunlight
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to coal tar, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Coal tar is only for external use on the skin. Do not apply the ointment to your face, eyes, in your vagina, around sex organs or rectum. Apply only to the affected areas as directed. Rub in gently and completely. Wash your hands well. Do not exceed the prescribed dose. Do not use more often than directed.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with coal tar?

There are no known drug interactions with coal tar preparations. Coal tar can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight and use should be avoided with:

  • psoralens
  • tetracycline
  • tretinoin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional: about any other prescription or non-prescription cream, ointment, lotion or other skin products you are using.

What side effects may I notice from using coal tar?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • skin rash, irritation, swelling or redness
  • hair follicle irritation, swelling or redness

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • increased sensitivity to the sun
  • staining of skin, nails, or clothing
  • stinging (especially from the gel or solution forms containing alcohol)

What should I watch for while taking coal tar?

Some forms of coal tar contain alcohol and are flammable. Do not use near heat, open flame, or while smoking.

Coal tar can stain your skin, nails, hair, or clothing. The color should wash out of your skin, nails and hair a few days after you stop using coal tar. Coal tar may permanently stain clothing.

Unless directed by your prescriber or health care professional, do not expose yourself to the sun for at least 24 to 72 hours after applying coal tar. Keep out of the sun, or wear protective clothing outdoors and use a sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher). Do not use sun lamps or sun tanning beds or booths.

Do not apply coal tar to inflamed, broken, burned, or infected skin.

Do not get the ointment in your eyes, around your sex organs or rectum; if you do, rinse off with plenty of cool tap water.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Keep container tightly closed. Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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