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    Information about Acitretin

    Acitretin uses

    Acitretin is used in the treatment of psoriasis.

    How acitretin works

    Acitretin is a retinoid. It has a structure similar to vitamin A and is involved in the normal growth of skin cells. It works by stopping overgrowth and thickening of skin cells in psoriasis.

    Common side effects of acitretin

    Dry lips, Dryness in mouth, Skin peeling, Joint pain, Muscle tightness, Cracked lips, Itching, Change in finger nails, Runny nose, Nosebleeds, Hair loss, Increased levels of blood fat
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Anuj Saini
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Ashish Ranjan
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    18 Feb 2020 | 05:21 PM (IST)
    Want to know more?
    Read Our Editorial Policy

    Available Medicine for Acitretin

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    Expert advice for Acitretin

    • Acitretin helps reduce thickening, plaque formation and scaling of the skin in conditions such as psoriasis.
    • Take it at the same time every day with food or a glass of milk.
    • Do not take Acitretin if you are pregnant, planning pregnancy or breastfeeding as it can cause birth defects in babies. Use effective methods of contraception to prevent pregnancy.
    • You will need to take pregnancy tests regularly if you are on treatment with and for at least 3 years after you stop taking this medicine.
    • Avoid exposure to sunlight while using Acitretin as it increases the sensitivity of your skin. Use protective measures such as sun-creams and protective clothing.
    • It may cause dryness of skin, mouth, and lips. Drink plenty of water and use a moisturiser and lip balm, if needed.
    • It may cause dry eyes and blurring of vision. Avoid wearing contact lenses and be cautious before driving or using machines.
    • Your doctor may get your regular blood tests done to monitor your liver function and the levels of fats such as cholesterol in your blood.

    Frequently asked questions for Acitretin


    Q. Is Acitretin an immunosuppressant?

    No, Acitretin is not an immunosuppressant. It belongs to the retinoid class of medicines. It is used to treat severe form of psoriasis.

    Q. Can I drink alcohol while taking Acitretin?

    Do not consume anything that contains alcohol while taking Acitretin and for 2 months after treatment. Acitretin and alcohol combine to form a substance that may remain in the body for more than 3 years.

    Q. How long does Acitretin take to work?

    Acitretin does not work right away. It may take about 2-4 weeks to see an improvement and about 2-3 months before you see the full benefits of this medicine. Therefore, you should continue taking it even if you do not see any improvement initially.

    Q. What is the most important information that I should know about Acitretin?

    Acitretin can cause serious birth defects in your unborn child. Therefore, you should not take Acitretin if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant within the next 3 years. Acitretin may also cause liver damage. Therefore, contact your doctor immediately if you experience nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, pain in the upper right part of the stomach, yellowing of the skin or eyes, or dark urine.

    Q. How should I take Acitretin?

    It is generally recommended to take Acitretin once daily with meals or milk. The dosage varies from person to person and is decided by your doctor. Swallow the medicine whole and do not crush or cut it.

    Q. Can I donate blood while on Acitretin?

    No, you should not donate blood while on Acitretin. Moreover, do not donate blood 3 years after stopping the treatment with Acitretin. The medicine present in your blood can harm an unborn child if your blood is given to a pregnant mother. However, Acitretin does not affect your ability to receive a blood transfusion.

    Q. What should I avoid while taking Acitretin?

    Acitretin may affect your night vision. Therefore, you should avoid driving at night. Avoid supplemental foods containing vitamin A while taking this medicine since it may add to the side effects. Also, avoid sunlight and sun lamps as Acitretin can make your skin more sensitive to ultraviolet light.

    Q. Does Acitretin affect sperm?

    No, Acitretin does not affect the sperm. However, it has been seen that small amounts of this medicine may pass into the semen. But, this small amount does not pose a risk to an unborn child.

    Content on this page was last updated on 18 February, 2020, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)