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Learn about Adcetris a treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma

Bexarotene (Systemic)

Generic Name: Bexarotene (Systemic) (beks AIR oh teen)
Brand Name: Targretin

Medically reviewed on Sep 5, 2018

Warning

  • Do not take if you are pregnant. Use during pregnancy may cause birth defects or loss of the unborn baby. If you get pregnant or plan on getting pregnant while taking bexarotene (systemic), call your doctor right away.

Uses of Bexarotene:

  • It is used to treat a type of lymphoma that affects the skin.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Bexarotene?

  • If you have an allergy to bexarotene or any other part of bexarotene (systemic).
  • 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 are taking gemfibrozil.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with bexarotene (systemic).

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 bexarotene (systemic) 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 Bexarotene?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take bexarotene (systemic). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • It may take several months to see full effect.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
  • This medicine may cause high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Talk with the doctor.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • This medicine may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take bexarotene (systemic).
  • Talk with your doctor before you take products that have vitamin A in them.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
  • If you drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit often, talk with your doctor.
  • 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.
  • If the capsule is opened or broken, do not touch the contents. If you do touch the contents or get it in your eyes, wash the area right away and call your doctor.
  • This medicine may make cataracts worse or may raise the chance of new cataracts. Talk with the doctor.
  • If you are a man and have sex with a woman who is pregnant, may be pregnant, or can get pregnant, always use a condom during sex. Use a condom during treatment and for at least 1 month after treatment ends.
  • If you are a man and your sex partner gets pregnant while you take bexarotene (systemic) or within 1 month after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking bexarotene (systemic).
  • Use of bexarotene (systemic) during pregnancy may cause birth defects or death of the unborn baby. You will need to have a pregnancy test to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting bexarotene (systemic). Talk with the doctor.
  • A pregnancy test will be done every month during care.
  • Use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust 1 month before care begins, during care, and for at least 1 month after care ends.
  • If you get pregnant while taking bexarotene (systemic) or within 1 month after your last dose, call your doctor right away.

How is this medicine (Bexarotene) best taken?

Use bexarotene (systemic) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Take bexarotene (systemic) at the same time of day.
  • Take with or right after a meal.
  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, open, or crush.
  • If you are able to get pregnant and have menstrual periods, start taking bexarotene (systemic) on the second or third day of a normal menstrual period.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • Keep taking bexarotene (systemic) as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it, with food.
  • 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.

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 infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of low thyroid levels like hard stools (constipation); not able to handle cold; memory problems; mood changes; or a burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly pancreas problems (pancreatitis) have happened with bexarotene (systemic). Call your doctor right away if you have very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Liver problems have rarely happened with bexarotene (systemic). Sometimes, this has been deadly. 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.

What are some other side effects of Bexarotene?

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:

  • Headache.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Not hungry.
  • Belly pain.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Hair loss.
  • Dry skin.
  • Back pain.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Flu-like signs.

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.

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 Bexarotene?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from heat.
  • Protect from light.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about bexarotene (systemic), please talk with your doctor, nurse, 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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