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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Tretinoin, Topical
Tretinoin, Topical
Pronunciation
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

Pronunciation
(TRET i noyn, TOP i kal)

Brand Names
Altinac™; Avita®; RENOVA®; Retin-A™; Retin-A® Micro

Foreign Brand Names
Retisol-A® (Canada); Stieva-A® (Canada); Stieva-A Forte® (Canada); Stieva-A® (Mexico); Stieva-A® 0.025% (Mexico)

Therapeutic Categories
Retinoic Acid Derivative

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to tretinoin or any other part of the medicine.
  • If you are sunburned.


What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used for the treatment of acne, sun damaged skin, some skin cancers, and other skin conditions. It can also decrease wrinkles and liver spots. It is used as an addition to other good skin care practices and sun avoidance.
  • It may take up to 6 weeks to see full benefits.


How does it work?

  • Tretinoin, topical increase cell turnover on the skin treated and allows the top layer of skin to come off. It may take up to 7 weeks to see the full effects.


How is it best taken?

  • For external use only. Keep out of mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
  • Apply at bedtime.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Clean affected area and wait 20-30 minutes before use.
  • Use in a small amount over the area affected as a light film. Rub in gently.
  • Do not put coverings (bandages, dressings) over the area unless told to do so by healthcare provider.


What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Apply a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not apply a double dose or extra doses.


What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • Check medicines with healthcare provider. You may have increased sensitivity to the sun when used with certain medicines.
  • You can burn. Avoid lots of sun. Use sunscreen; wear protective clothing and eyewear.
  • Do not use skin products with alcohol and other irritants. These may cause more burning and dryness.
  • Skin may look worse before it looks better.
  • Use of certain soaps, sulfur, resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid containing skin preparation can increase irritation.
  • Avoid other sources of vitamin A (multivitamins, vitamin A supplements).
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.


What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Warmth and stinging immediately after applying. This will go away in minutes.
  • Redness, peeling, and irritation where this medicine is applied.


What should I monitor?

  • Monitor for redness and peeling.
  • Follow up with healthcare provider.


Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Severe redness, peeling, or irritation of skin.


How should I store this medicine?

  • Store at room temperature.


General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).


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