In this drug factsheet:
How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Tazarotene belongs to a group of medications called retinoids. It is used to treat plaque psoriasis and acne vulgaris. The cream form is also used to treat the signs and symptoms (appearance and texture) of premature aging of the skin caused by overexposure to the sun (photodamage).
Tazarotene helps psoriasis by reducing inflammation and keeping skin cell growth down to a normal rate. It appears to help acne partly by keeping skin pores clear. You will begin to see improvement about 1 to 4 weeks after starting the medication, depending on what you are using it for.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those 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 use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
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How should I use this medication?
For psoriasis, apply a thin film of tazarotene cream or gel once daily in the evening only to the affected areas. The skin should be dry before applying the medication. If emollient or moisturizing creams are also being used, apply these first and allow them to absorb into the skin before applying the tazarotene cream or gel.
For acne, gently cleanse and dry the skin. Apply a thin film of cream or gel to the entire face (everything between the hairline, jawline, and ears) once a day in the evening.
For photodamage, remove makeup before applying the cream. Apply a pea-sized amount of cream to the entire face, including a careful application to the eyelids if desired.
Take special care to minimize contact with the eyes, lips, and mucous-producing areas. Make sure the skin is dry before application. If you apply a moisturizer before this medication, allow it to absorb into the skin before applying the tazarotene cream.
This medication may cause increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. Sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) and protective clothing should be used when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Avoid getting the medication in your eyes, and do not take the medication by mouth. Do not cover the treatment areas with dressings or bandages. Do not apply to skin that is broken or severely inflamed.
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 using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose of this medication, do not apply the missed dose but return to your regular schedule as soon as possible. Do not apply 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 and keep it out of 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 g of white to slightly off-white emollient cream contains tazarotene 0.05% (w/w) or 0.1%. Nonmedicinal ingredients: benzyl alcohol (as preservative), Carbomer 934P, Carbomer 1342, edetate disodium, medium chain triglycerides, mineral oil, purified water, sodium thiosulfate, sodium hydroxide (to adjust the pH), and sorbitan monooleate.
Each g of colorless to light yellow, translucent homogeneous gel contains tazarotene 0.05% (w/w) or 0.1%. Nonmedicinal ingredients: ascorbic acid, benzyl alcohol, butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene, carbomer 934P, edetate disodium, hexylene glycol, poloxamer 407, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 40, purified water, and tromethamine.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use this medication if you:
- are allergic to tazarotene or any ingredients of the medication
- are allergic to retinoids (such as isotretinoin or tretinoin)
- have seborrheic dermatitis