Generic Name: Acitretin (a si TRE tin)
Brand Name: Soriatane
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 12, 2020.
- Do not take acitretin if you are pregnant or want to get pregnant within 3 years after stopping acitretin. The risk of severe 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 risks before you start acitretin. You must use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust 1 month before starting acitretin, during treatment, and for 3 years after the last dose. Pregnancy tests will be done before you start acitretin, while you take it, and for 3 years after the last dose. If you get pregnant while taking acitretin or within 3 years after stopping it, call your doctor right away.
- Females who are able to get pregnant must avoid alcohol while taking acitretin and for 2 months after stopping it. This includes all drinks, food, drugs, or products that have alcohol in them. Alcohol will make acitretin stay in the body longer and may raise the risk of birth defects for longer than 3 years after stopping acitretin. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- Small amounts of acitretin are found in semen. It is not known if this may lead to any risk to the unborn baby. Talk with your doctor.
- Do not donate blood while using acitretin 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.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Acitretin?
- If you are allergic to acitretin; any part of acitretin; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- 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 acitretin 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 acitretin.
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 acitretin:
- 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 acitretin 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.
- High cholesterol and triglyceride levels have happened with acitretin. These changes may raise the chance of blood clots or heart and brain blood vessel disease like heart attack or stroke. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
- 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.
- Trouble seeing at night has happened with acitretin. This may be sudden. This may clear up after you stop the drug but sometimes it may not go away. Use care at night when driving or doing other tasks that call for clear eyesight. Keep work space well lit. If you have trouble seeing at night while taking acitretin, call your doctor right away.
- This medicine may cause a severe and sometimes deadly problem called capillary leak syndrome (CLS). CLS may lead to low blood pressure, abnormal heartbeat, chest pain, or heart attack. It may also lead to lung or breathing problems, bleeding or lower blood flow in the stomach or bowel, kidney problems, swelling, or feeling confused. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.
- Raised pressure in the brain has happened with acitretin. 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 acitretin as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take acitretin with food.
- Take acitretin at the same time of day.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
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, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of depression, thoughts of suicide, 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.
- Shortness of breath.
- 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.
- Severe diarrhea.
- Bleeding from rectum or rectal pain.
- Severe and sometimes deadly pancreas problems (pancreatitis) have happened with acitretin. This could happen at any time during treatment. 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.
- 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:
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 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
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 in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Protect from heat and light.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer information use
- 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.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time acitretin 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
More about acitretin
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- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
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- Drug class: antipsoriatics
Other brands: Soriatane