Generic Name: Tretinoin (Systemic) (TRET i noyn)
- The risk of very bad and sometimes deadly birth defects is very high if you take tretinoin (systemic) at any time while you are pregnant. Any unborn baby can be harmed. There is no good way to tell if an unborn baby has been harmed. The risk of losing an unborn baby is also raised and premature births have happened. Your doctor will talk about the bad effects before starting you on this medicine. If you are going to take this drug during pregnancy, make sure that you know all of the facts about the risks to the unborn baby. If you are a woman of childbearing age, you must use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy 1 month before starting tretinoin, while taking it, and for 1 month after care ends. A pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting this medicine and every month while you are taking it. If you get pregnant while taking tretinoin or within 1 month after you stop taking it, call your doctor right away.
- This medicine may cause a high white blood cell count. Sometimes, this can raise the chance of very bad and sometimes deadly health problems. You will be closely watched by your doctor.
- This medicine may cause a very bad and sometimes deadly health problem called retinoic-acid-APL syndrome. Most of the time, this problem happens during the first month of taking this medicine and sometimes after the first dose. Call your doctor right away if you have fever; shortness of breath or trouble breathing; swelling; weight gain; very bad dizziness or passing out; 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; or signs of kidney problems like not able to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, or blood in the urine.
Uses of Tretinoin:
- It is used to treat a type of leukemia.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Tretinoin?
- If you have an allergy to tretinoin, vitamin A, or any other part of tretinoin.
- 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 breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this medicine.
- 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.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with tretinoin.
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 this medicine 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 Tretinoin?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take tretinoin. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this medicine affects you.
- 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.
- 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.
- Blood clots have happened with tretinoin. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a blood clot. Talk with your 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.
- Use with care in children. Talk with the doctor.
- Do not use progestin-only birth control pills (minipills). They may not work well. Talk with your doctor.
- If you are a woman and you miss a period, have unprotected sex, or think that your birth control has not worked, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Tretinoin) best taken?
Use tretinoin (systemic) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
- Keep taking this medicine 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.
- 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 or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
- 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.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Change in hearing.
- Hearing loss.
- Swelling of belly.
- A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Low mood (depression).
- Swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Very bad belly pain.
- Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Feeling confused.
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there).
What are some other side effects of Tretinoin?
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:
- Belly pain.
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Bone pain.
- Skin irritation.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Dry mouth.
- Dry eyes.
- Dry skin.
- Dry lips.
- Sweating a lot.
- Hair loss.
- Mouth irritation or mouth sores.
- Not able to sleep.
- Weight gain or loss.
- Not hungry.
- Muscle pain.
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 Tretinoin?
- 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.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about tretinoin, 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.
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 tretinoin. 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 tretinoin.
Review Date: November 1, 2017
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- Drug class: miscellaneous antineoplastics
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