Bilateral Comparison of the Efficacy and Tolerability of 3% Diclofenac Sodium Gel and 5% 5-Fluorouracil Cream in the Treatment of Actinic Keratoses of the Face and Scalp

February 2006 | Volume 5 | Issue 2 | Original Article | 156 | Copyright © February 2006

Stacy R. Smith MD, Vera B. Morhenn MD, Daniel J. Piacquadio MD

Actinic keratoses (AKs) are a common precancerous condition and are said to account for 14% of visits to dermatologists in the US each year. Along with cryotherapy, topical treatments are a mainstay of therapy for these lesions. One of the potential benefits of topical therapy is less pain and irritation as compared to cryotherapy. Additionally, topical therapies have a perceived benefit of treating subclinical lesions along with clinically evident keratoses. We conducted a bilateral comparison study of the efficacy and tolerability of diclofenac 3% gel used for 90 days and 5% fluorouracil cream used for 28 days in thirty patients with AK of the face and scalp. The diclofenac gel and 5-fluorouracil cream each demonstrated substantial efficacy in the number of lesions cleared and the proportion of patients with significant lesion clearing. In most patients, diclofenac induced only mild signs of inflammation compared to 5-fluoruracil, despite a longer treatment period. A greater number of patients expressed significant satisfaction with diclofenac gel compared to the 5-fluorouracil cream.