Understanding Actinic Keratosis (AK) and Its Risks
AK is a chronic skin condition caused by long-term sun exposure and characterized by slow-growing lesions. AKs are small, crusty or scaly bumps that show up on or beneath the skin's surface.
AK is the most common precancerous condition. Approximately 10% of AKs ultimately become cancerous, and nearly half of all squamous cell carcinomas (skin cancers) begin as untreated AKs.
The risk of AK increases with age, and although it can occur in people as young as 40, AK is most common in those between the ages of 60 and 74. In addition to age, the risks for AK include a history of prolonged sun exposure (especially sunburns), light eyes and skin tone, and a compromised immune system.
AK can occur anywhere on the body that has been exposed to the sun. Identifying and treating AK as early as possible greatly reduces the risk that it will become skin cancer. This is why it is important to perform monthly skin checks as well as to have your doctor perform annual skin exams. Also, you should see your dermatologist if you notice any changes in your skin.
Talking to Your Dermatologist About AK and How to Treat It
There are a several treatments for AK3:
- Cryosurgery freezes the AKs
- Photodynamic therapy removes the lesions with light-activated acid
- Topical therapy uses medicated gels and creams to destroy AK lesions
Here are some questions you might want to ask your doctor if you are diagnosed with AK:
- What are my best treatment options?
- What are the side effects of the chosen AK treatment?
- How will I know if I am having an abnormal reaction to the treatment?
- Will I get new AKs?
- Can I still continue to enjoy outdoor activities during and after AK treatment?
- When should I return for a follow-up visit?
Before you leave your doctor's office, be sure you understand exactly how to use any medications you are prescribed.
SOLARAZE®Gel (diclofenac sodium - 3%) — One Option for AK Treatment
- The only prescription AK treatment available in a non-greasy gel formulation
- Proven effective1
- The majority of adverse events were mild to moderate in severity and resolved upon discontinuation of therapy2
This may make SOLARAZE® Gel a good option for AK patients.
For more information about AK and treatment options such as SOLARAZE® Gel, talk to your dermatologist or podiatrist.
For more information, visit Solaraze.com
Solaraze® (diclofenac sodium) Gel is indicated for the topical treatment of actinic keratoses (AKs). Sun avoidance is indicated during therapy.
Important Selected Safety Information
Do not use Solaraze® (diclofenac sodium) Gel if you have hypersensitivity to diclofenac, benzyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol or hyaluronate sodium. As with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), e.g. aspirin, severe rapidly-progressing allergic reactions may occur in patients without prior exposure to diclofenac. The most common side effects of Solaraze® Gel involves mild to moderately severe skin reactions, such as dermatitis, rash, dry skin and scaling of the skin. Avoid using Solaraze® Gel in patients with active ulcer affecting stomach or intestines and severe disorders of kidney or liver. Avoid sun exposure and concurrent use of sunscreens, cosmetics or other topical medications during Solaraze® Gel therapy. Do not apply Solaraze® Gel to broken skin, infections or inflamed red skin with scaling. Avoid contact with the eyes. Inform your doctor if you are taking other NSAIDs or if pregnant or nursing a baby. For more information, consult your healthcare provider. Please see the Full Prescribing Information.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088
- Data on file. PharmaDerm.
- Solaraze® Gel [Prescribing Information, 2010]. Melville, NY: PharmaDerm division of Fougera Pharmaceuticals Inc.
- Skin Cancer Foundation Web Site. Actinic keratosis and other precancers. Available at: http://www.skincancer.org/ak/index.php. Accessed July 15, 2008