Targretin

Generic Name: bexarotene (beks AIR oh teen)
Brand Name: Targretin

What is Targretin (bexarotene)?

Bexarotene is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Bexarotene is used to treat skin lesions caused by cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). Bexarotene is usually given after other cancer medications have been tried without successful treatment.

Bexarotene may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Targretin (bexarotene)?

Bexarotene can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant, or if you are a man and your sexual partner is pregnant. Use at least 2 reliable forms of birth control while either sexual partner is taking bexarotene, and for at least 30 days after treatment ends.

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Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, if you stop using birth control, or if you miss a menstrual period.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Targretin (bexarotene)?

You should not use bexarotene if you are allergic to it, or if you are pregnant.

To make sure bexarotene is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • high cholesterol or triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood);

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • diabetes;

  • gallbladder disease;

  • if you drink large amounts of alcohol; or

  • if you are allergic to any other retinoids (isotretinoin, tretinoin, acitretin).

FDA pregnancy category X. This medication can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects. Do not use bexarotene if you are pregnant, or if you are a man and your sexual partner is pregnant.

  • If you are a woman, you must have a negative pregnancy test within 7 days before you start taking bexarotene. A pregnancy test is also required every month during treatment with bexarotene.

  • Stop taking this medication and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, if you stop using birth control, or if you miss a menstrual period.

  • If you are a man, use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment. Continue using a condom for at least 30 days after you stop taking bexarotene.

  • Use at least 2 reliable forms of birth control while either sexual partner is taking bexarotene. Keep using 2 forms of birth control for at least 30 days after you stop taking bexarotene.

  • At least one of your forms of birth control should be non hormonal (condom, cervical cap, IUD, or diaphragm with spermicide).

  • Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is taking bexarotene.

It is not known whether bexarotene passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using bexarotene.

How should I use Targretin (bexarotene)?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take with food.

Swallow each capsule whole. Do not chew them, dissolve them in liquid, or allow them to dissolve in your mouth.

It may take up to several months before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

While using bexarotene, you may need frequent blood tests at your doctor's office.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose with food as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Targretin (bexarotene)?

Avoid taking a vitamin A supplement without your doctor's advice. Use only the amount your doctor recommends.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with bexarotene and lead to unwanted side effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Bexarotene can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Targretin (bexarotene) side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using bexarotene and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;

  • pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;

  • blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;

  • severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting;

  • feeling tired or unusually cold; or

  • stabbing chest pain, wheezing, cough with yellow or green mucus.

Common side effects may include:

  • temporary hair loss;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain;

  • confusion, headache, weakness, muscle spasm;

  • rash, dry or peeling skin;

  • sleep problems (insomnia); or

  • swelling in your hands or feet.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Targretin (bexarotene)?

Many drugs can interact with bexarotene. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your medications and any you start or stop using during treatment with bexarotene, especially:

  • gemfibrozil;

  • St. John's wort;

  • an antibiotic--clarithromycin, nafcillin, rifabutin, rifampin, rifapentine, telithromycin;

  • antifungal medication--itraconazole, ketoconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole;

  • other cancer medications--carboplatin, paclitaxel, tamoxifen;

  • heart medication--nicardipine, quinidine;

  • hepatitis C medications--boceprevir, telaprevir;

  • HIV/AIDS medication--atazanavir, delavirdine, efavirenz, fosamprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, nevirapine, ritonavir, saquinavir; or

  • seizure medication--carbamazepine, fosphenytoin, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone.

This list is not complete and many other drugs can interact with bexarotene. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about bexarotene.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.02. Revision Date: 2013-07-01, 12:08:54 PM.

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