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Coal Tar
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Coal Tar Overview

Written by FoundHealth.

(KOLE tar)

U.S. Brand Names

Balnetar® [OTC]; Betatar® Gel [OTC]; Cutar® [OTC]; Denorex® Original Therapeutic Strength [OTC]; DHS™ Tar [OTC]; DHS™ Targel [OTC]; Doak® Tar [OTC]; Exorex®; Fototar® [OTC] [DSC]; Ionil T® Plus [OTC] [DSC]; MG 217® Medicated Tar [OTC]; MG 217® [OTC]; Neutrogena® T/Gel Extra Strength [OTC]; Neutrogena® T/Gel Stubborn Itch Control [OTC]; Neutrogena® T/Gel [OTC]; Oxipor® VHC [OTC]; Polytar® [OTC] [DSC]; Reme-T™ [OTC]; Scytera™ [OTC]; Tera-Gel™ [OTC]; Zetar® [OTC]

Canadian Brand Names

Balnetar®; Estar®; Targel®

Mexican Brand Names

Carbotural; Tarmed Shampoo

Pharmacologic Category

Topical Skin Product

Reasons not to take this medicine

• If you have an allergy to coal tar or any other part of this medicine.

• Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other symptoms involved.

How does it work?

• Coal tar interferes with skin growth.

• It reduces inflammation.

How is it best taken?

All forms:

• Do not take this medicine by mouth. For skin only. Keep out of mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).

Bath oil:

• Add to bath water.

• Soak for directed amount of time, then pat dry.


• Apply a thin layer to the affected skin and rub in gently.

• Leave on skin for the directed amount of time, then pat area with a clean tissue.

Lotion, solution:

• Follow directions given by healthcare provider or read the package insert.


• Apply a thin layer to the affected skin and rub in gently.


• Wet hair and scalp.

• Apply enough shampoo to lather.

• Lather well.

• Rinse and reapply, lather, and leave on for 5 minutes.

• Rinse and dry hair.

What do I do if I miss a dose? (does not apply to patients in the hospital)

• Apply a missed dose as soon as possible.

• If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule.

• Do not apply a double dose or extra doses.

What should I monitor?

• Change in condition being treated. Is it better, worse, or about the same?

• Follow up with healthcare provider.

How should I store this medicine?

• Store at room temperature.

General statements

• If you have a life-threatening allergy, wear allergy identification at all times.

• Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.

• Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.

• Most medicines can be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.

• Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, natural products, supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, physician assistant).

• Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or in Canada to Health Canada's Canada Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.

• Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter, natural products, or vitamins.

• Read the package insert for more details.

Created: 2005-04-07 16:30:07.0

Modified: 2010-03-09 08:26:44.0

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