adapalene (Differin)

What is adapalene, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Adapalene is a gel used for the treatment of acne vulgaris (pimples). The exact mechanism of action is not known. Scientists believe that when adapalene is applied to the skin, it affects the growth of skin cells and thereby reduces the formation of pimples.

What brand names are available for adapalene?


Is adapalene available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for adapalene?


What are the uses for adapalene?

Adapalene is a gel prescribed for the treatment of acne (pimples).

What are the side effects of adapalene?

The most common side effects of adapalene are:

Most of these side effects lessen with continued use; however, if they are bothersome, decreasing the frequency with which adapalene is applied may reduce these side effects.

Adapalene may increase the sensitivity of the skin to sun and lead to sunburn. Excessive sun exposure should be avoided, and sunscreens should be used over the treated areas if exposure to the sun cannot be avoided. Adapalene should not be applied to sunburned skin, cuts, eyes, nose, or lips.

What is the dosage for adapalene?

Wash and dry the affected areas. Apply a thin layer of gel to the affected areas once daily at bedtime. Avoid the eyes, lips and nose. There may be a worsening of acne during the first few weeks of therapy because adapalene promotes the growth of pimples that have begun to form but are not yet visible. Therefore, treatment should not be stopped if acne appears to be worsening. Beneficial effects should be seen by 8 to 12 weeks.


Skin Health: How to Get Clear Skin See Slideshow

Which drugs or supplements interact with adapalene?

Excessive skin irritation may occur if adapalene is used with other acne medications.

Is adapalene safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

Only very small amounts of adapalene are absorbed through skin and into the body. However, there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

It is not known whether adapalene is excreted in breast milk.

What else should I know about adapalene?

What preparations of adapalene are available?

Gel, 0.1%

How should I keep adapalene stored?

Store at room temperature, 20 C - 25 C (68 F - 77 F)


Adapalene (Differin) is a gel prescribed for the treatment of acne (pimples). Review side effects (sun sensitivity, for example), drug interactions, pregnancy safety information, and dosage prior to taking any medication.

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