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What Is Ingenol Mebutate Used For?

Ingenol mebutate is prescribed to adults who have precancerous skin lesions caused by actinic keratosis. This skin condition occurs due to sun damage and causes scaly bumps or patches on the surface of the skin. Ingenol mebutate is used to help kill the cells of the lesions. It is important to treat these lesions, as they can progress into a type of skin cancer.

An Overview of Uses for Ingenol Mebutate

Ingenol mebutate (Picato®) is a prescription skin gel used to treat actinic keratosis (AK), also known as solar keratosis. It can be used on actinic keratosis lesions of the face or body.
Actinic keratosis lesions are scaly bumps or patches on the surface of the skin that are caused by sun damage. They range in size and color. Although actinic keratoses may be unsightly, the more serious concern is that some lesions may progress to a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.
Treatment for AK may include:
  • Freezing (cryosurgery)
  • Laser surgery
  • Medications.
Like most actinic keratosis medications, ingenol mebutate usually causes skin reactions, which can sometimes be quite severe. However, one of the big advantages of the drug is that only two or three days of treatment are necessary, depending on the area being treated, which makes treatment more tolerable and practical, compared to other products that are used for weeks or months.

How Does It Work?

It is not entirely clear how ingenol mebutate works to treat actinic keratosis lesions, although it is known that it causes the cells of actinic keratoses to die.

Can Children Use Ingenol Mebutate?

Ingenol mebutate is not approved for use in children younger than 18 years old, as it has not been adequately studied in this age group. This is quite reasonable, considering that actinic keratosis is generally not a condition seen in children.

Ingenol Mebutate Information

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