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    DEA Class; Rx

    Common Brand Names;

    • Depigmenting Agents

    Elicits reversible depigmentation of the skin by inhibiting enzymatic oxidation of tyrosine to 3, 4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA); also suppresses other melanocyte metabolic processes; sun exposure reverses effect and cause repigmentation

    Physicians may prescribe hydroquinone products through 503A and 503B compounding facilities



    Use as depilatory drug

    • Mild skin irritation and sensitization (burning, stinging)
    • Dermatitis
    • Dryness
    • Erythema
    • Inflammatory reaction

    May contain sulfites that may cause allergic-type reactions

    May cause skin rashes, facial swelling, and ochronosis

    Avoid unnecessary exposure to sunlight

    Limit application to areas no larger than arms, hands, face, and neck

    Do not apply near eyes or mucous membranes, to cut, abraded, or sunburned skin, after shaving or using a depilatory agent; or over miliaria rubra (prickly heat)

    Individuals with sensitive skin may experience temporary burning/stinging sensation


    Unknown extent of systemic absorption


    Unknown if distributed in breast milk; use caution

    Apply sparingly to affected areas BID and rub in thoroughly

    Generally 2-4% compounded topical creams are prescribed