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Targretin gel

Generic Name: bexarotene (bex-AR-oh-teen)
Brand Name: Targretin

Targretin gel is used for:

Treating skin lesions in patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Targretin gel is a retinoid. Exactly how it works is unknown.

Do NOT use Targretin gel if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Targretin gel
  • you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Targretin gel:

Some medical conditions may interact with Targretin gel. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you are allergic to other retinoids (eg, tretinoin)
  • if you have liver or kidney problems

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Targretin gel. Because little, if any, of Targretin gel is absorbed into the blood, the risk of it interacting with another medicine is low.

Ask your health care provider if Targretin gel may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Targretin gel:

Use Targretin gel as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with Targretin gel. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Targretin gel is for external use only. Do not apply Targretin gel on or near the eyes, nostrils, mouth, lips, vagina, tip of the penis, rectum, or anus. If you get Targretin gel in any of these areas, rinse thoroughly with water.
  • Wash your hands before and after using Targretin gel. Do not wash your hands after use if your hands are part of the treatment area.
  • Apply a generous coating of Targretin gel to the entire lesion. Avoid getting Targretin gel on the healthy skin around the lesions. Allow Targretin gel to dry before covering it with clothing.
  • Do not bandage or wrap Targretin gel unless instructed to do so by your doctor.
  • Do not bathe, shower, or swim for 3 hours after putting on.
  • If putting this drug on after a bath or shower, wait 20 minutes before putting it on.
  • This drug may catch on fire. Do not use near an open flame or while smoking.
  • Continue to use Targretin gel even if you feel well. Do not miss any doses.
  • If you miss a dose of Targretin gel, put it on as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not put on 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Targretin gel.

Important safety information:

  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Targretin gel before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Targretin gel may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Targretin gel. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Do not use products that contain DEET (eg, insect repellant) while you are using Targretin gel.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking vitamin A supplements or multivitamins that contain vitamin A.
  • Talk with your doctor before you use other drugs or products on your skin.
  • Avoid scratching the affected area.
  • If you are a man and have sex with a woman who is pregnant, may be pregnant, or can get pregnant, always used a condom during sex. Use a condom during treatment and for at least 1 month after treatment ends.
  • Women using Targretin gel must have a negative pregnancy test within 1 week prior to beginning therapy with Targretin gel, and each month after that until therapy is finished. Begin therapy with Targretin gel on the second and third day of a normal menstrual period.
  • If you may become pregnant, you must use 2 effective forms of birth control for 1 month before you start using Targretin gel, while you use it, and for at least 1 month after you stop using it. If you have questions about effective birth control, talk with your doctor.
  • Targretin gel may be harmful if swallowed. If you or someone you know may have taken Targretin gel by mouth, contact your local poison control center or emergency room right away.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use Targretin gel if you are pregnant. It may cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant while using Targretin gel or within 1 month after stopping it, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while you are using Targretin gel.

Possible side effects of Targretin gel:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Headache; pain, itching, or other irritation at the application site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); fever, chills, or sore throat; numbness or tingling of the skin; severe or persistent pain, itching, or other irritation at the application site; swelling.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Targretin gel:

Store Targretin gel at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep away from an open flame. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Targretin gel out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Targretin gel, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Targretin gel is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Targretin gel or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. 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 Targretin gel. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Targretin gel. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Targretin gel.

Issue Date: June 3, 2015

Further information

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