In this drug factsheet:
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Acitretin is a derivative of vitamin A. It is used to treat severe psoriasis and other skin disorders. Acitretin reduces the speed at which the cells involved in psoriasis are formed. It may take 2 to 3 months before the full benefit of acitretin is seen.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that involves chronically occurring bright red patches covered with silvery scales. It cannot be passed from one person to another.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
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How should I use this medication?
The recommended starting dose of acitretin is 25 mg once daily. If the desired effect has not been seen after 4 weeks and side effects have been tolerated, your doctor may increase the dose to 50 mg once daily. The maximum dose is 75 mg once a day.
Acitretin should be taken once daily with food or just after a meal.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each brown and white, hard gelatin capsule (No. 4) with "ACTAVIS" in black lettering contains acitretin 10 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: gelatin, glucose (liquid, spray-dried), microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium ascorbate; gelatin capsule shell: iron oxide (yellow, black, and red) and titanium dioxide.
Each brown and yellow, hard gelatin capsule (No. 1) with "ACTAVIS" in black lettering contains acitretin 25 mg. Nonmedicinal ingredients: gelatin, glucose (liquid, spray-dried), microcrystalline cellulose, and sodium ascorbate; gelatin capsule shell: iron oxide (yellow, black, and red) and titanium dioxide.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Acitretin should not be taken by anyone who:
- is allergic to acitretin, vitamin A, or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- has certain types of abnormal cholesterol levels
- has excess vitamin A in the body
- has severely reduced kidney or liver function
A woman capable of becoming pregnant must not take acitretin unless ALL of the following criteria are met:
- She is able to use effective birth control methods.
- She is reliable in understanding and carrying out instructions.
- She has had a pregnancy test within 2 weeks before the start of treatment.
- She has received and understands information regarding the risks of having babies with deformities associated with acitretin exposure.
- She has severe psoriasis or other severe skin disease, as judged by the doctor.
Acitretin must not be taken by pregnant women. As well, women must not become pregnant while taking acitretin and should use effective birth control for at least 2 years after stopping this medication. Women should not breast-feed while taking acitretin or for 2 years after stopping the medication.
Alcohol must not be consumed while taking acitretin and for 2 months after stopping the treatment.