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What is Tazorac (tazarotene)?
Tazorac (tazarotene) is retinoid used topically (on the skin) to treat acne and psoriasis. The exact mechanism of how Tazorac works is not known. Scientists believe that when Tazorac is applied to the skin, it affects the growth of skin cells and thereby reduces the formation of pimples and psoriasis plaques.
Tazorac may affect growth of skin cells by affecting the action of genes that control production of skin cells. It also reduces inflammation. Tazorac was withdrawn from the U.S. market in 2007, but is available on a very limited basis for restricted use. Women who would like to be considered for this medication should contact their doctor for an evaluation.
Common side effects of Tazorac include:
Serious side effects of Tazorac include:
- severe skin irritation (stinging, burning, itching) after applying the medicine,
- severe redness or discomfort,
- blistering or peeling skin, and
- warmth, swelling, oozing, or other signs of skin infection.
It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this Tazorac. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
What are the important side effects of Tazorac (tazarotene)?
Side effects of Tazarotene are:
- dry skin,
- stinging and burning,
- desquamation, and
- sun sensitivity.
Tazorac (tazarotene) side effects list for healthcare professionals
The following serious adverse reactions are discussed in more detail in other sections of the labeling:
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.
A total of 439 subjects 14 to 87 years of age were treated with Tazorac Gel, 0.05% and 0.1% in two controlled clinical trials. The most frequent adverse events reported with Tazorac Gel, 0.05% and 0.1% occurring in 10 to 30% of subjects, in descending order, included:
Reactions occurring in 1 to 10% of subjects included:
Increases in “psoriasis worsening” and “sun-induced erythema” were noted in some subjects over the 4th to 12th months of treatment as compared to the first three months of a 1 year study. In general, the incidence of adverse events with Tazorac Gel 0.05% was 2 to 5% lower than that seen with Tazorac Gel 0.1%.
A total of 596 subjects 12 to 44 years of age were treated with Tazorac Gel, 0.05% and 0.1% in two controlled clinical trials. The most frequent adverse events reported during clinical trials with Tazorac Gel, 0.1% in the treatment of acne occurring in 10 to 30% of subjects, in descending order, included desquamation, burning/stinging, dry skin, erythema and pruritus. Reactions occurring in 1 to 10% of subjects included irritation, skin pain, fissuring, localized edema and skin discoloration.
Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of tazarotene.
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders:
What drugs interact with Tazorac (tazarotene)?
No formal drug-drug interaction studies were conducted with Tazorac Gel.
In a trial of 27 healthy female subjects between the ages of 20-55 years receiving a combination oral contraceptive tablet containing 1 mg norethindrone and 35 mcg ethinyl estradiol, concomitant use of tazarotene administered as 1.1 mg orally (mean ± SD Cmax and AUC0-24 of tazarotenic acid were 28.9 ± 9.4 ng/mL and 120.6 ± 28.5 ng•hr/mL, respectively) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol over a complete cycle.
The impact of tazarotene on the pharmacokinetics of progestin only oral contraceptives (i.e., minipills) has not been evaluated.
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Related Disease Conditions
Acne is a localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of oil glands at the base of hair follicles. This inflammation, depending on its location, can take the form of a superficial pustule (contains pus), a pimple, a deeper cyst, congested pores, whiteheads, or blackheads. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the acne.
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.
Cystic acne is distinguised by painful nodules on the chest, face, neck, and back. This form of acne is known to scar. Treatment may incorporate the use of hormonal therapies, oral antibiotics, and prescription medications.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa (Acne Inversa)
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS or acne inversa) is a chronic skin condition that causes painful red abscesses in the groin and armpits that may drain foul-smelling pus. Treatment options include weight loss, smoking cessation, topical antibiotics, and avoidance of tight-fitting underwear. Finasteride and adalimumab may be helpful for those with resistant cases of HS.
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.
What Is the Best Treatment for Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an incurable chronic autoimmune disorder of the skin that causes patches of thick, flaky, scaly skin, mostly around the scalp, knees, and elbows, though any skin surface may be involved. Some people experience only small patches while others have red, inflamed skin and think scaly patches all over the body. The exact cause of psoriasis is not clear, but it isn’t contagious.
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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Medications & Supplements
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.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.