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Molecule Description

Acitretin belongs to a bunch of medicines referred to as Retinoids. This medicine is used to treat severe skin problems where the skin has become thick and maybe scaly and which does not respond to other conventional treatments satisfactorily.
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Uses of Acitretin

Pervasive and severe forms of various skin disorders like psoriasis, dry, scaling, waxy rash. Treatment of severe psoriasis uses the Acitretin medicine.

Contraindications of Acitretin

When should one not use Acitretin

  • If you are pregnant
  • If you are a girl or woman of childbearing age and could, therefore, become pregnant because this medicine can cause malformations in the unborn baby
  • If your liver or kidney is not working properly
  • If you have very high cholesterol in your blood ( “Hyperlipidaemia”).
  • If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to Acitretin

Side effects of Acitretin

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Increased sensitivity, reddening of skin, itching, sensation of burning skin
  • Hair loss
  • Swelling and pain in the area around your nails, fragile nails
  • Dry skin, dry lips, and possibly inflamed lips
  • Inflammation of the liver and jaundice
  • Increased pressure in the brain- rare side effects

Precautions and Warnings of Acitretin


Can I take Acitretin during pregnancy?
Unless there is a strict specification, doctors don’t recommend this medicine for use in pregnant women. If you use the medication in pregnant women, there is a high chance of harming the unborn baby. Your doctor will prescribe you a substitute medicine.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Acitretin while breastfeeding?
It is not safe during breastfeeding. It can harm the newborn baby.


Can I drive if I have consumed Acitretin?
It may affect your driving ability. Be cautious while driving.


Can I consume alcohol with Acitretin?
It may have harmful and severe effects if you consume alcohol while you are under the influence of medicine. Make sure that you consult your doctor once before the consumption of alcohol.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
You experience severe skin reaction with symptoms such as rash, blistering, or peeling of the skin (Exfoliative Dermatitis).

Mode of Action of Acitretin

How Does It Work?

The medicine works by restricting the out-of-control and excessive growth of skin cells and keratinization. It is a process where the cells of the skin become incredibly thick due to Keratin (a type of protein) deposition.
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Interactions of Acitretin

Interactions with other medicines

  • Retinoid medicines
  • Antibiotic Tetracycline
  • Contraceptive pills
  • Vitamin A supplements

Dosage of Acitretin


Symptoms of an Acitretin overdose are signs of acute hypervitaminosis. It comes along with nausea, vomiting, headaches, irritability, drowsiness as well as pruritus.

Missed a Dose

If you missed a dose and now it is close to the time for next dose, then you can take that dose and skip the missed dose altogether. Never double the dose.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: How long does it take for acitretin to take effect?

A: The time that is needed for acitretin to take effect is yet to establish in research or clinical trials.

Q: How long does the effect of acitretin last?

A: The time that this medicine retains its effect is yet to establish in research or clinical trials.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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