- Psoriasis Slideshow: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
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- Moderate to Severe Forms of Psoriasis Slideshow
- What is Soriatane (acitretin)?
- What are the uses for Soriatane (acitretin)?
- What is the black box warning for Soriatane (acitretin)?
- What are the side effects of Soriatane (acitretin)?
- What is the dosage for Soriatane (acitretin)?
- Is Soriatane (acitretin) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with Soriatane (acitretin)?
- What else should I know about Soriatane (acitretin)?
What is Soriatane (acitretin)?
Acitretin is an oral medication used to treat psoriasis.
What are the uses for Soriatane (acitretin)?
- Acitretin is used for treating severe psoriasis in adults.
- Acitretin should be prescribed only by doctors who have experience in the systemic use of retinoids because it has serious side effects.
Is Soriatane (acitretin) available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for Soriatane (acitretin)?
What is the black box warning for Soriatane (acitretin)?
- Acitretin is harmful to the fetus. It must not be used while pregnant, or by women who intend to be pregnant during therapy or within 3 years following discontinuation of therapy. It should also not be used by women who do not use reliable contraception. Patients must use 2 effective forms of contraception (birth control) simultaneously for at least 1 month prior to starting acitretin therapy, during therapy, and for at least 3 years after stopping treatment.
- Alcohol increases conversion of acitretin to etretinate (Tegison), which remains in the body much longer and is also harmful to the fetus. Therefore, women should not consume alcohol during treatment with acitretin and for 2 months after stopping therapy.
- Acitretin may cause liver damage. Acitretin should be discontinued if liver damage is suspected during treatment.
What are the side effects of Soriatane (acitretin)?
Common side effects of Soriatane include:
- Inflammation of the lips (cheilitis)
- Hair loss
- Increased triglyceride levels
- Skin peeling
- Dry skin (25%-50%)
- Cold symptoms
- Joint pain
- Dry mouth
Other side effects of Soriatane include:
- Increased levels of liver enzymes
- Changes in phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium levels
- Increased sun sensitivity
Other less common side effects of Soriatane include:
- Water retention
- Increased appetite
- Possible serious side effects include:
- Birth defects (Please see the pregnancy and breastfeeding safety section.)
- Liver toxicity
- Dry eyes (xerophthalmia)
- Pseudotumor cerebri (increased pressure of the fluid in the brain)
- Skeletal abnormalities
Since acitretin can cause liver damage, liver function tests should be performed before treatment at 1- to 2-week intervals until stable, and thereafter at intervals as clinically needed
What is the dosage for Soriatane (acitretin)?
- The recommended dose for acitretin is 25 to 50 mg daily given as a single dose with the main meal.
Is Soriatane (acitretin) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- Acitretin is harmful to the fetus, and it must not be used during pregnancy.
Women must use 2 effective forms of contraception (birth control) simultaneously
for at least 1 month prior to starting acitretin therapy, during therapy, and
for at least 3 years after stopping treatment. Major human fetal abnormalities associated with acitretin and/or etretinate include:
- Multiple synostoses
- Facial dysmorphia
- Absence of terminal phalanges
- Malformations of hip, ankle, and forearm
- Low-set ears
- High palate
- Decreased cranial volume
- Cardiovascular malformation
- And alterations of the skull and cervical vertebrae
- Acitretin should not be used by women who are breastfeeding because acitretin can pass into breast milk and harm the infant.
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Which drugs or supplements interact with Soriatane (acitretin)?
- Combining acitretin with alcohol increases the formation of etretinate. Etretinate remains in the body for a longer period than acitretin and it is very harmful to a fetus.
- Acitretin may increase the effects of glyburide (Micronase) on blood glucose and potentially cause hypoglycemia.
- Acitretin reduces the effect of the microdose progestin minipill. The two drugs should not be combined.
- Acitretin should not be combined with methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) due to the increased risk of liver failure.
- Combining tetracycline with acitretin increases intracranial pressure.
- Taking vitamin A supplements may increase side effects of acitretin because acitretin and vitamin A have similar chemical structures.
- If phototherapy also is being used as treatment, the doses of phototherapy should be reduced to avoid excessive burning of the skin.
What else should I know about Soriatane (acitretin)?
What preparations of Soriatane (acitretin) are available?
- Capsule: 10 and 25 mg
How should I keep Soriatane (acitretin) stored?
- Acitretin should be stored between 15 C and 25 C (59 C and 77 F) and protected from light.
- Exposure to high temperatures and humidity should be avoided after the bottle is opened.
How does Soriatane (acitretin) work?
- The mechanism of action of acitretin is unknown. It is chemically related to retinoic acid and retinol (vitamin A), and it reduces skin cell production and shedding. It takes several weeks to see its effects, up to 6 months to see a full response, and psoriasis may worsen before improvement is seen.
When was Soriatane (acitretin) approved by the FDA?
- The FDA approved acitretin in October 1996.
Acitretin (Soriatane) is a prescription drug used to treat severe psoriasis in adults. Some side effects include hair loss, skin peeling, itching, nosebleeds, headache, and nausea. Soriatane has a black box warning that should be reviewed prior to taking this medication. Other side effects, drug interactions, dosing, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
Itching can be a common problem. Itches can be localized or generalized. There are many causes of itching including infection (jock itch, vaginal itch), disease (hyperthyroidism, liver or kidney), reactions to drugs, and skin infestations (pubic or body lice). Treatment for itching varies depending on the cause of the itch.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Dry skin (xeroderma) may be caused by external factors, like cold temperatures, low humidity, harsh soaps, and certain medications, or internal factors, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or Sjogren's syndrome. Symptoms and signs of dry skin include itching and red, cracked, or flaky skin. The main treatment for dry skin is frequent, daily lubrication of the skin.
Sun-Sensitive Drugs (Photosensitivity to Drugs)
Sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) is an inflammation of the skin induced by the combination of medications or substances and sunlight. The effect on the skin is redness, which looks similar to a sunburn. Generally, these reactions are either phototoxic or photoallergic. Phototoxic drugs are more common than photoallergic drugs. Symptoms of phototoxic reactions are a burning and stinging sensation and then redness. Symptoms of photoallergic reactions are itching, redness, swelling, and blisters of the affected area. Treatment generally is the discontinuation of the medication and topical application of creams. Treatment generally is the discontinuation of the medication and topical application of creams.
Are Skin Rashes Contagious?
Direct and indirect contact can spread some types of rashes from person to person. Rash treatment depends upon a rash's underlying cause. A rash that sheds large amounts of skin warrants urgent medical attention. Rashes can be either contagious or noncontagious. Noncontagious rashes include seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, psoriasis, nummular eczema, drug eruptions, hives, heat rash (miliaria), and diaper rash. Rashes usually considered contagious include molluscum contagiosum (viral), impetigo (bacterial), herpes (herpes simplex, types 1 and 2 viruses), rash caused by Neisseria meningitides (N. meningitides) (bacterial), rash and blisters that accompany shingles (herpes zoster virus), ringworm (fungal) infections (tinea), scabies (itch mite), chickenpox (viral), measles and rubella (viral), erythema infectiosum (viral), pityriasis rosea (viral), cellulitis and erysipelas (bacterial), lymphangitis (bacterial, and folliculitis (bacterial).
Scalp Psoriasis (Psoriasis of the Scalp)
Scalp psoriasis causes red, raised, scaly patches that may extend from the scalp to the forehead and the back of the neck and ears. Symptoms and signs include itching, hair loss, flaking, silvery scales, and red plaques. Treatment includes topical medicated shampoos, creams, gels, oils, ointments, and soaps, medications, and light therapy.
Hailey-Hailey Disease (Familial Benign Pemphigus)
Hailey-Hailey disease (familial benign pemphigus) is a hereditary skin disease that causes painful blistering the skin folds. There is no specific treatment for this disease, and treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and signs.
Is Psoriasis Contagious?
Psoriasis is an incurable skin disease that causes reddish patches of skin topped with a thick layer of dry silvery scales. Psoriasis cannot spread and is not contagious.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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