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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Quick Drug Information (DrugNotes) > Alitretinoin (Topical)

Alitretinoin (On The Skin)

Alitretinoin (a-li-TRET-i-noyn)

Treats skin sores caused by Kaposi's sarcoma.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to alitretinoin. Tell your doctor if you are allergic to vitamin A, acitretin (Soriatane®), isotretinoin (Accutane®), tretinoin (Retin-A®), or etretinate (Tegison®). You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This medicine might be absorbed into your body and harm your unborn baby if used while you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use and how often.
  • The medicine should be used only on your skin.
  • Put a generous coating of the gel on your skin sores. Let the gel dry for 3 to 5 minutes before putting clothes on over the medicine. Do not put bandages over the medicine.
  • Try to not get the gel on areas of your skin where you don't have sores.
  • You should not use the medicine near your eyes, mouth, nose, vagina, or rectum.
  • If your skin gets very red or swells, call your doctor. You may be told to stop using the medicine until these symptoms go away.
  • You may need to use the medicine for 2 weeks or longer before your skin sores begin to get better.
  • Never share your medicine with anyone

If a dose is missed:

  • Use the medicine as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for your next dose.
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next regular dose.
  • Do not put two doses (twice as much medicine) on your skin at the one time.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the tube of gel at room temperature, away from heat and sunlight.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Certain kinds of insect repellents should not be used while you are being treated with this medicine. The insect repellents that should not be used with alitretinoin contain a chemical called DEET.
Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Do not breastfeed while using alitretinoin.
  • Do not get pregnant while you are using this medicine. Unless you have had a hysterectomy (uterus removed), talk with your doctor about using a reliable method of birth control for the entire time you are using this medicine.
  • If you think you might have become pregnant after you have started using the medicine, stop using it and call your doctor right away.
  • Alitretinoin may make the areas on your skin where you use the medicine more sensitive to sunlight. Avoid exposing the treated areas on your skin to sunlight, a sunlamp, or tanning booths.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Severe redness or swelling on the areas of your skin where you use the medicine
  • Severe rash, blisters, or peeling skin

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Mild redness, rash, itching, or flaking
  • Stinging or burning on the areas of your skin where you use the medicine
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.

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