tazarotene (Tazorac)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

GENERIC NAME: tazarotene


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Tazarotene is a topical acne and psoriasis medication. The exact mechanism of how tazarotene works is not known. Scientists believe that when tazarotene is applied to the skin, it affects the growth of skin cells and thereby reduces the formation of pimples and psoriasis plaques. It may affect growth of skin cells by affecting the action of genes that control production of skin cells. It also reduces inflammation. The FDA approved tazarotene in June 1997.



PREPARATIONS: Tazarotene is available in 0.05% and 0.1% cream and gel formulations.

  • Cream is available in 30 gram and 60 gram tubes.
  • Gel is available in 30 gram and 100 gram tubes.

STORAGE: Store tazarotene at room temperatures between 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Tazarotene is prescribed for plaque psoriasis and acne vulgaris.


  • Plaque psoriasis: Apply a thin film and cover the affected areas once daily in the evening. Start with 0.05% and may increase to 0.1% cream or gel if tolerated.
  • Acne vulgaris: Cleanse the skin gently. After the skin is dry, apply 0.1% cream or gel to acne lesions once daily in the evening.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Do not combine tazarotene with medications or cosmetics that have a strong drying effect on the skin.

PREGNANCY: Tazarotene is not recommended for use in pregnant women or women who may become pregnant because there is a possibility of fetal harm or birth defects.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether tazarotene is excreted in breast milk; however, it is best to avoid using it in nursing females.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of Tazarotene are dry skin, redness, stinging and burning, irritation, itching, desquamation, and sun sensitivity.

Quick GuidePsoriasis Types, Images, Treatments

Psoriasis Types, Images, Treatments
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