tretinoin, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Renova, Avita

  • 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: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: tretinoin

BRAND NAME: Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Atralin, Renova, Avita

DISCONTINUED BRANDS: Altinac, Retin-A Micro Pump, Renova Pump, Refissa

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

USES: Topical tretinoin is used for treating mild to moderate acne, fine wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

SIDE EFFECTS: Following the application of tretinoin to the skin, there often is local inflammation. This reaction disappears when treatment is stopped. Mild stinging or a sensation of warmth also can occur when applying tretinoin.

The common side effects of tretinoin are:

  • dryness,
  • scaling,
  • itching, and
  • redness.

MORE SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS: If severe redness, vesicles or crusting develops, a physician should be notified immediately and tretinoin stopped. It may be possible to restart therapy with a lower concentration.

Some patients may experience an initial flare up of acne.

Some patients using tretinoin develop increased sun sensitivity and are more prone to sunburn (photosensitivity). Therefore, it is advisable to avoid exposing treated areas of the skin to excessive sunlight or UV lamps to reduce the risk of severe sunburn.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/2/2016

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