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Name of the generic: Coal tar topical Topical coal KOL-TARTOP-ik’al [ KOL-TAR-TOP-ik-al
The brand names are: Anti-Dandruff, Balnetar, Coal Tar, DHS Tar Shampoo, Ionil T,
The class of drug: Miscellaneous topical agents

What is Tarsum?

Coal tar is a byproduct of coal processing. Tarsum (for the skin) is a treatment for the skin-related symptoms of psoriasis, which include dryness and flaking. It can also treat redness or scaling, as well as irritation. Coal tar isn't an effective treatment for psoriasis, and it can only provide temporary relief from skin conditions. Coal tar could be used to treat other conditions that are not covered in this guide to medication.

Side effects of Tarsum:

Contact a medical professional immediately. Get medical attention immediately if you notice symptoms that are warning signs of an allergic response, such as difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling of your lips, face, and tongue.

Tarsum could cause severe adverse reactions. Take a break from Tarsum and contact your doctor immediately if you suffer from:

  • Extreme burning, stinging swelling, or irritations of the skin treated.

Common side effects include mild skin irritations or itching.

This isn't a complete list of all the side effects. Other side effects could occur. Contact your physician to seek medical advice on adverse effects. You can report any adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Follow the directions on the medicine label and on the label of your package. Be sure to inform your healthcare professionals about your medical issues, allergies, and any medications you take.

Before taking this medication

You shouldn't use tarsum if you are allergic to coal tar. Consult a physician or pharmacist to determine if it's safe to take this medication in the event of additional medical conditions, including:

  • If you're allergic to any of the drugs you're allergic to,
  • If you're undergoing UV radiation treatment to treat your psoriasis.

Products made from coal tar might contain lanolin, mineral oil, or other emulsifiers. Be sure to check the label on any coal-tar products you're using. Consult your physician prior to taking coal tar if you have an allergy to one of the components. Talk to your doctor before taking this medication if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. Don't allow a toddler to take this medication without supervision from an adult.

How to take Tarsum?

Take it exactly as indicated on the label or as directed by your physician. Don't use in greater quantities than suggested or for longer periods than suggested. Apply coal tar cream lotion, ointment, or a solution as per the instructions on the medication label. Certain types of coal tar can be applied one to four times a day. To make use of the bathing oil, add up to 3 caps of it to the bath to warm it up before you bathe. The oil may make the tub slippery. Make sure you are safe from falling.

Shake the shampoo with coal tar well prior to use. Apply enough shampoo to form an intense lather. Massage the shampoo on your scalp, and then wash it thoroughly. Apply the shampoo another time, and then leave it on your hair for 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Coal tar shampoo can discolour the hair colour or make it blond. This is typically temporary. Don't use coal tar for treating large areas of skin. Avoid using coal tar for prolonged periods of time without a doctor's approval.

Certain forms of coal tar may stain fabrics or other surfaces. Contact your physician if your symptoms don't improve or if they become worse when you use Tarsum. Keep the medicine at room temperature, free of heat and moisture. Make sure the medicine is tightly sealed when not being used.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Because Tarsum is only used in times of need, it is possible that you are not on a schedule of doses. If you're in a routine, you should take the dose you missed as quickly as you can remember. Do not take any missed doses if it's close to the time of the next scheduled dose. Don't use any extra medication to make up for the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

A fatal dose of Tarsum is not likely to be a danger. You should seek medical attention in an emergency or contact the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if you have accidentally swallowed the drug.

Avoid this

Do not take coal tar with other psoriasis treatments unless your doctor has advised you to. Do not get Tarsum within your eye. If it does happen, you need to wash it out with water. Do not apply coal tar to treat the skin on the rectal area or your groyne. Avoid exposure to artificial UV radiation (sunlamps and tanning beds). Coal tar may cause your skin to become less sensitive to sunlight. Sunburn could result.

Interaction with other drugs

It's not likely that any other drug you consume by mouth or inject can affect the coal tar that is applied topically. However, many medications can interact with each other. Inform your health care professionals about any medications you take, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, and herbal remedies.