USES: Tretinoin is used with other medications (e.g., chemotherapy) to treat a certain type of cancer of the white blood cells (APL-acute promyelocytic leukemia). APL is a disease of too many white blood cells that do not mature or function properly. This medication is used to lessen the signs and severity of this disease (induce remission). Further treatment after remission will be determined by your doctor. Tretinoin works by promoting the growth of normal, mature cells in the bone marrow and blood. This medication helps to reverse symptoms of APL such as infections, tiredness, and bleeding. Tretinoin belongs to a class of drugs known as retinoids, which is related to vitamin A.
HOW TO USE: Take this medication by mouth, usually twice a day or as directed by your doctor. It may be taken with food.Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same times each day. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to therapy. Follow your doctor's directions for how long to take this medication.Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often without your doctor's approval. Your condition will not improve any faster and the risk of serious side effects may be increased.Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication.
SIDE EFFECTS: See also Warning section.Headache, dizziness, fever, weakness, tiredness, dry mouth, dry skin, other skin changes, thinning hair, nausea, vomiting, itching, bone pain, mouth sores, increased sweating, and earache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Headache may occur several hours after taking a dose. Mild pain medications (e.g., acetaminophen) usually help relieve these headaches, which tend to go away as your body gets used to tretinoin. Talk with your doctor about which pain relievers are right for you.To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, hearing problems (e.g., hearing loss), change in the amount of urine, mental/mood changes, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat.Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: severe headache, persistent nausea/vomiting, vision changes, chest pain, jaw/left arm pain, trouble breathing, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, confusion, pain/redness/swelling of arms/legs.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.