Generic Name: Acitretin (a si TRE tin)
Brand Name: Soriatane
- Do not take acitretin if you are pregnant or want to get pregnant within 3 years after stopping this medicine. The risk of very bad and sometimes deadly birth defects is very high if you take acitretin during pregnancy or if you get pregnant within 3 years after stopping this drug. The risk of losing an unborn baby is also raised, and premature births have happened. Your doctor will talk about the bad effects before you start this medicine. You must use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust 1 month before starting acitretin, during treatment, and for 3 years after care ends. Pregnancy tests will be done before you start this medicine, while you take it, and for 3 years after care ends. If you get pregnant while taking acitretin or within 3 years after stopping it, call your doctor right away.
- Small amounts of this medicine are found in semen. It is not known if this may lead to any risk to the unborn baby. Talk with your doctor.
- Women: Do not drink alcohol while using acitretin and for 2 months after stopping it.
- Do not donate blood while using this medicine and for 3 years after stopping.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with acitretin. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
Uses of Acitretin:
- It is used to treat psoriasis.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Acitretin?
- If you have an allergy to acitretin or any other part of this medicine.
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have any of these health problems: High cholesterol, kidney disease, or liver disease.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Demeclocycline, doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline, a product that has vitamin A in it, a product that is like vitamin A, or St. John's wort.
- If you are taking methotrexate.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take acitretin. You will also need to avoid breast-feeding after you stop this medicine until there is no more of acitretin in your body. Talk with your doctor to see how long you need to avoid breast-feeding after you stop this drug.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this medicine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take acitretin with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Acitretin?
For all patients taking this medicine:
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take acitretin. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert or have clear eyesight until you see how this medicine affects you.
- It may take a few months to see the full effect.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), acitretin may sometimes raise blood sugar. Talk with your doctor about how to keep your blood sugar under control.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Have a bone density test as you have been told by your doctor. Talk with your doctor.
- Skin may look worse before it looks better.
- You may get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
- Lowered night eyesight may happen. Use care at night when driving or doing other tasks that call for clear eyesight. Keep work space well lit.
- This medicine may cause a very bad and sometimes deadly problem called capillary leak syndrome (CLS). CLS may lead to low blood pressure and harm to the body. It may also lead to a heartbeat that is not normal, chest pain or pressure, heart attack, lung or breathing problems, bleeding or lower blood flow in the stomach or bowel, kidney problems, swelling, or feeling confused. Talk with the doctor.
- Raised pressure in the brain has happened with this medicine. This can cause long lasting loss of eyesight and sometimes death. Call your doctor right away if you have a bad headache, dizziness, upset stomach or throwing up, or seizures. Call your doctor right away if you have weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, or change in eyesight.
- If you are 65 or older, use acitretin with care. You could have more side effects.
- Do not use progestin-only birth control pills (minipills). They may not work well. Talk with your doctor.
- If you have sex without using 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust, if you think you may be pregnant, or if you miss your period, call your doctor right away.
- Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
How is this medicine (Acitretin) best taken?
Use this medicine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take acitretin with food.
- Take this medicine at the same time of day.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
- Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Mean actions or thoughts of fighting.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm.
- Very bad muscle pain or weakness.
- Bone or joint pain.
- Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
- Change in how contact lenses feel in the eyes.
- Change in hearing.
- Ringing in ears.
- Weight gain.
- Stomach pain.
- Very loose stools (diarrhea).
- Bleeding from rectum or rectal pain.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly pancreas problems (pancreatitis) have happened with acitretin. This could happen at any time during care. Signs of pancreatitis include very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very upset stomach or throwing up. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs.
- Lowered night eyesight may happen. This may be sudden. This may clear up after you stop the drug but sometimes it may not go away.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
What are some other side effects of Acitretin?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Runny nose.
- Change in nails.
- Eye irritation.
- Dry mouth.
- Dry eyes.
- Dry lips.
- Hair loss.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out Acitretin?
- Store at room temperature.
- Protect from light.
- Protect from heat.
- Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time this medicine is refilled. If you have any questions about acitretin, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about acitretin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using acitretin.
Review Date: September 6, 2017
More about acitretin
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
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- Drug class: antipsoriatics
Other brands: Soriatane