Skip to Content

Tazarotene topical

Generic Name: tazarotene topical (ta ZAR oh teen)
Brand Name: Avage, Fabior, Tazorac

Medically reviewed on January 3, 2018

What is tazarotene topical?

See also: Stelara

Tazarotene topical (for use on skin) is a compound similar to vitamin A. It helps the skin to renew itself more quickly and may improve the appearance and texture of skin.

The Avage brand of tazarotene cream is used to reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles on the face, mottled light and dark skin patches on the face, and benign facial lentigines (non-cancerous freckles) in adults and adolescents who are at least 17 years old.

The Fabior and Tazorac brands of tazarotene topical are used to treat acne vulgaris in adults and adolescents who are at least 12 years old.

Tazorac is also used to treat plaque psoriasis (raised, silvery flaking of the skin) in adults.

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

Important Information

tazarotene topical can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy.

Stop using tazarotene topical and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, if you stop using birth control, or if you miss a menstrual period.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use tazarotene topical if you are allergic to it, or if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.

You must have a negative pregnancy test within 2 weeks before starting this treatment.

To make sure tazarotene topical is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • eczema, sunburn, or another skin condition;

  • skin cancer;

  • lentigo maligna (a type of skin cancer);

  • an allergic reaction to a skin product;

  • if you work outdoors; or

  • if you are taking an antibiotic or other medicine that can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Do not use tazarotene topical if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby or cause birth defects. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine.

Stop using tazarotene topical and tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant, if you stop using birth control, or if you miss a menstrual period.

It is not known whether tazarotene topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Avage should not be used on anyone younger than 17 years old. Fabior or Tazorac should not be used to treat acne in a child younger than 12 years old. Fabior should not be used to treat psoriasis in anyone under 18.

How should I use tazarotene topical?

Tazarotene topical is usually applied once daily in the evening or at bedtime. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use tazarotene topical in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not use this medicine on open wounds or on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, or irritated skin. If this medicine gets in your eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina, rinse with water.

Also avoid using this medicine in wounds or on areas of eczema. Wait until these conditions have fully healed before using tazarotene topical.

Wash your hands before and after using tazarotene topical, unless you are using this medicine to treat the skin on your hands.

Women who use tazarotene topical should start the medication during a menstrual period.

Wash the skin with a mild cleanser and allow it to dry completely. Apply a thin layer of the medication to the affected skin, and rub in completely.

Avoid applying the medication to unaffected areas. If medication accidentally gets on areas that do not need treatment, wash it off.

If you also use a benzoyl peroxide acne medication, do not use it at the same time you use tazarotene topical. Apply one medication only in the morning and the other only in the evening.

If you use a skin moisturizer, use it before or after applying tazarotene topical. Wait until the moisturizer or the medicine is completely absorbed before applying the other substance over it.

Shake the Fabior foam well just before each use.

Your skin may be more sensitive to weather extremes such as cold and wind during treatment with tazarotene topical. Protect your skin with clothing and use a moisturizing cream or lotion as needed.

Store at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze.

Fabior foam is flammable. Do not use near high heat or open flame. The canister may explode if it gets too hot. Do not puncture or burn an empty foam canister. Store the bottle in an upright position.

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 dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of tazarotene 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 medicine.

What should I avoid while using tazarotene topical?

Avoid exposure to sunlight or tanning beds. Tazarotene topical can make you sunburn more easily. Wear protective clothing and use sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) when you are outdoors.

Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, or skin cleansers, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime.

Rinse with water if tazarotene topical gets in your eyes.

Avoid using other skin medications on the areas you treat with tazarotene topical unless your doctor tells you to.

Tazarotene topical side effects

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

Stop using tazarotene topical and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe skin irritation (burning, stinging, itching) after applying the medicine;

  • blistering or peeling skin;

  • severe redness or discomfort; or

  • swelling, warmth, oozing, or other signs of skin infection.

Common side effects may include:

  • dry, scaly, or peeling skin;

  • skin redness or burning; or

  • itching or other irritation of treated skin.

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.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect tazarotene topical?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially drugs that can make you more sensitive to sunlight, such as:

  • an antibiotic;

  • a diuretic or "water pill";

  • a sulfa drug; or

  • medicine to treat mental illness.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with tazarotene topical, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

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.

Hide