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Alitretinoin topical

Generic Name: alitretinoin topical (ah lih TREH tin oyn)
Brand Name: Panretin

Medically reviewed by on Sep 15, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is alitretinoin topical?

Alitretinoin is a retinoid, related to vitamin A. Alitretinoin affects the growth and development of skin cells.

Alitretinoin topical (for the skin) is used to treat skin lesions caused by AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.

Alitretinoin topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use alitretinoin topical if you are allergic to alitretinoin, isotretinoin, or tretinoin (Retin-A).

Before you use alitretinoin topical, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and allergies. Also make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use alitretinoin topical if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether alitretinoin topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Do not use this medication on anyone under 18 years old without medical advice.

How should I use alitretinoin topical?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Wash your hands before and after using this medicine, unless you are treating skin areas on your hands.

Apply this medication only to affected skin lesions. Try not to get any medicine on the healthy skin around the lesions.

Allow the gel to dry for 3 to 5 minutes before covering treated skin with clothing. Do not bathe, shower, or swim for at least 3 hours after applying the medicine.

Do not cover the treated skin area with a bandage or similar covering unless your doctor tells you to.

It may take up to 14 weeks or longer before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

Do not share this medication with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep the medicine away from open flame or high heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of alitretinoin topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using alitretinoin topical?

Avoid getting this medication in your eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina. If this does happen, rinse with water.

Do not use insect repellents or other products that contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) while using alitretinoin topical.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds while using alitretinoin topical. Alitretinoin can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing when you are outdoors.

Alitretinoin topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe redness or swelling of treated skin areas;

  • peeling or scaly skin;

  • scabbing or crusting; or

  • blistering or oozing of treated skin.

Common side effects may include:

  • numbness or tingling;

  • dryness or cracking of the skin; or

  • mild itching, burning, or other skin irritation.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Alitretinoin topical dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Kaposi's Sarcoma:

Initial dose: Apply a generous coating of gel to cutaneous lesions 2 times a day; may gradually increase applications to 3 to 4 times a day based on individual lesion tolerance

-If application site toxicity occurs, the application frequency may be reduced; if irritation is severe, application may be temporarily discontinued for a few days until symptoms subside.
-Therapy should be continued as long as the patient is deriving benefit.

Use: For the topical treatment of cutaneous lesions in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma; this drug is not indicated when systemic therapy is needed (e.g., more than 10 new lesions in prior month, symptomatic lymphedema, symptomatic pulmonary Kaposi's sarcoma, or symptomatic visceral involvement)

What other drugs will affect alitretinoin topical?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied alitretinoin. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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