Talc is used to prevent malignant pleural effusion (buildup of fluid in the chest cavity in people who have cancer or other serious illnesses) in people who have already had this condition. Talc is in a class of medications called sclerosing agents. It works by irritating the lining of the chest cavity so that the cavity closes and there is no space for fluid.
Talc comes as a powder to be mixed with liquid and placed in the chest cavity through a chest tube (plastic tube that is placed in the chest cavity through a cut in the skin), and as an aerosol to be sprayed through a tube into the chest cavity during surgery. Talc is given by a doctor in a hospital.
After your doctor places talc in your chest cavity, you may be asked to change positions every 20-30 minutes for several hours to allow the talc to spread through your chest cavity.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before receiving talc,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to talc or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had any other medical conditions.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant after receiving talc, call your doctor.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Talc may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- bleeding in the area where the chest tube was inserted
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath
- coughing up blood
- fast heartbeat
- chest pain or pressure
Talc may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems after you receive this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: February 11, 2012.