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Mequinol / tretinoin topical Side Effects

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 18, 2023.

Applies to mequinol/tretinoin topical: topical solution.


This medication can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

Avoid getting this medication in your eyes, mouth, or along the creases of your nose. If it does get into these areas, wash with water. Do not use mequinol and tretinoin on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, irritated, or broken skin. Also avoid using this medication in wounds or on areas of eczema. Wait until these conditions have healed before using mequinol and tretinoin.

You must avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Mequinol and tretinoin topical can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

If you get a sunburn, you may need to wait until it heals before you can keep using mequinol and tretinoin.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction while taking mequinol / tretinoin topical: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Mequinol and tretinoin can cause some stinging, burning, warmth, tingling, itching, redness, swelling, dryness, peeling, or other skin irritation. Stop using the medication and call your doctor if any of these side effects become severe. You may need to use less of the medication or apply it less often.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to mequinol / tretinoin topical: topical solution.


In general, topical adverse reactions have been primarily mild to moderate in intensity, and occurred in 66% and 30% of patients, respectively. The majority of these reactions were limited to the skin. Approximately 6% of patients discontinued study participation due to adverse reactions.[Ref]


Dermatological side effects have included skin reactions in 64% of patients within 8 weeks of therapy. The most frequently reported side effects have included erythema (49%), burning, stinging, or tingling (26%), desquamation (14%), pruritus (12%), and skin irritation (5%). Temporary hypopigmentation of treated lesions or of the skin surrounding treated lesions in 5% and 7% of patients, respectively have been reported. Halo hypopigmentation, dry skin, rash, crusting, vesicular bullae rash, dermatitis, skin discomfort, and irritant dermatitis have been reported in greater than 1% of patients. Rare cases of depigmentation have also been reported in postmarketing experience. Mequinol-tretinoin topical may induce photosensitivity in some individuals, as well as an increased susceptibility to irritation from wind, cold, and dryness.[Ref]

Resolution of hypopigmentation occurred in 89% of patients following discontinuation of treatment to the lesion. Another 8% of patients with hypopigmentation had resolution of symptoms in within 120 days after the end of treatment. Persistence of hypopigmentation occurred in 2.8% of patients beyond 120 days.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects to mequinol-tretinoin topical have not been reported. However, reversible, clinically insignificant changes in liver function tests have been reported following both oral and topical administration of tretinoin. These abnormalities have included elevations in serum bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase, and glutamic-pyruvic transaminase.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included at least one case of neurotoxicity in a patient who received tretinoin topical therapy.[Ref]

A patient with liver disease developed neurological side effects following 4 weeks of tretinoin therapy. Symptoms included headache, memory loss, truncal ataxia, and dysarthria, all of which improved upon temporary discontinuation of medication and recurred when the patient resumed usage. Upon withdrawal of medication a second time, the symptoms resolved within 4 weeks.[Ref]


Ocular side effects to topical tretinoin have included ectropions which have developed infrequently and were reversible. In addition, a transient and harmless stinging of the eye has occurred when tretinoin was applied onto the surrounding skin, and has generally lasted about 30 to 60 seconds.[Ref]


1. Product Information. Solage (mequinol-tretinoin topical). Westwood Squibb Pharmaceutical Corporation.

2. Heel RC, Brogden RN, Speight TM, Avery GS. Vitamin A acid: a review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic use in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Drugs. 1977;14:401-19.

3. Bernstein AL, Leventhal-Rochon JL. Neurotoxicity related to the use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A). Ann Intern Med. 1996;124:227-8.

4. Brodell LP, Asselin D, Brodell RT. Reversible ectropion after long-term use of topical tretinoin on photodamaged skin. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1992;27:621-2.

Further information

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

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.