Table of Contents > Drug > Coal Tar Print

Coal Tar


Related terms
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    Related terms
    • U.S. Brand Names: Balnetar® [OTC];Betatar Gel® [OTC];Cutar® [OTC];Denorex® Therapeutic Protection 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner [OTC];Denorex® Therapeutic Protection [OTC];DHS® Tar [OTC];DHST Tar Gel [OTC];Exorex® Penetrating Emulsion #2 [OTC];Exorex® Penetrating Emulsion [OTC];ionil-T® Plus [OTC];ionil-T® [OTC];MG217® Medicated Tar Extra Strength [OTC];MG217® Medicated Tar Intensive Strength [OTC];MG217® Medicated Tar [OTC];Neutrogena® T/Gel® Extra Strength [OTC];Neutrogena® T/Gel® Stubborn Itch Control [OTC];Neutrogena® T/Gel® [OTC];Oxipor® VHC [OTC];Pentrax® [OTC];ScyteraT [OTC];Tera-GelT [OTC];Thera-Gel [OTC];Zetar® [OTC]
    • Canadian Brand Names: Balnetar®;Estar®;Targel®
    • Mexican Brand Names: Carbotural;Tarmed Shampoo
    • Pharmacologic Category: Topical Skin Product

    • This medicine is used to treat dandruff.
    • This medicine is used to treat psoriasis.
    • This medicine is used to control seborrheic dermatitis.
    • Coal tar interferes with skin growth.
    • It reduces inflammation.


    How to take

    • 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.
    • Gel:
    • 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.
    • Ointment:
    • Apply a thin layer to the affected skin and rub in gently.
    • Shampoo:
    • 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.

    Missed Dose

    • 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.


    • Store at room temperature.



    • 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.


    • Check medicines with healthcare provider. This medicine may not mix well with other medicines.
    • This medicine can stain fingernails, hair, and skin.
    • Protect clothing and fabrics from staining.
    • You can get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen; wear protective clothing and eyewear.
    • Do not put coverings (bandages, dressings, make-up) over the area unless told to do so by healthcare provider.
    • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
    • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.

    Side Effects

    • Skin irritation.
    • Scalp irritation.


    • Change in condition being treated. Is it better, worse, or about the same?
    • Follow up with healthcare provider.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • If you suspect an overdose, call your local poison control center or emergency department immediately.
    • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Severe skin irritation.
    • Any rash.
    • No improvement in condition or feeling worse.

    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.
    • In Canada return any unused drugs back to the pharmacy. Also, visit for more facts about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • 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.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2010 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (

    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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