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Drugs

Side Effects
Serious

No serious side effects are associated with alitretinoin.
Common

Redness, rash, itching, numbness and tingling, skin cracking, scabbing, swelling, burning sensation, and pain at application site.
Less Common

No less common side effects are associated with alitretinoin.
Alitretinoin


Drug Class:
Retinoid

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: No

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Topical gel

Why Prescribed
To treat skin lesions topically in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma (a type of skin cancer that commonly affects immunocompromised patients). Not for use when systemic anti-Kaposi's sarcoma therapy is required.

How It Works
Alitretinoin, a vitamin A-related retinoid found naturally in the body, inhibits the growth of Kaposi's sarcoma cells.

Range and Frequency
To start, apply a generous layer of gel to the skin lesions twice a day. Frequency of application may be gradually increased by your doctor to three to four times a day.

Onset of Effect
A response to the gel may be seen as soon as two weeks after the initiation of therapy. However, some patients require up to 14 weeks of therapy before a response is noted.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
No special restrictions.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

Missed Dose
If you fail to apply the medication on one day, return to your regular schedule the next day; do not apply an extra amount in an attempt to compensate for the missed dose.

Stopping the Drug
Use of alitretinoin should be continued as long as its benefit persists. Consult your doctor before discontinuing treatment.

Prolonged Use
Long-term therapy with this medication is often required.

Over 60
Information is inadequate, but no special problems are expected.

Driving and Hazardous Work
The use of alitretinoin should not impair your ability to perform such tasks safely.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Alitretinoin should not be used if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Adequate birth-control methods should be practiced when alitretinoin is used in women of child-bearing age.

Breast Feeding
Alitretinoin may pass into breast milk. However, women infected with HIV should not breast-feed, so as to avoid transmitting the virus to an uninfected child.

Infants and Children
Not recommended for use by children.

Special Concerns
Avoid applying the gel to unaffected skin, as skin irritation may result. Allow the gel to dry for three to five minutes before covering with clothing. Do not apply near mucous membranes such as the nose, eyes, and mouth. Patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma are less tolerant to the drug.

Overdose Symptoms
Excessive use of alitretinoin may lead to skin redness, peeling, or discomfort.

What to Do
An overdose is unlikely to occur. If someone accidentally ingests alitretinoin, call your doctor.

Drug Interactions
If you are using alitretinoin, do not use any products containing DEET, a common ingredient in some insect repellents.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have any other skin condition before using alitretinoin.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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