Acitretin is a medication to treat severe psoriasis that cannot be treated with other medications . It is also used to treat lichen planus , congenital ichthyosis, and Darier's disease.
Acitretin belongs to the class of retinoids . This drug works by slowing the growth of new skin cells and reducing the symptoms of inflammation, including the redness and inflammation of psoriasis.
What Is Acitretin
|The group||Prescription drugs|
|Benefit||Relieves symptoms of severe psoriasis, lichen planus , congenital ichthyosis, and Darier's disease|
|Acitretin for pregnant and lactating women||Category X: Studies in experimental animals and humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities or a risk to the fetus. Drugs in this category should not be used by women who are or may become pregnant.|
Acitretin can be absorbed into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.
Precautions Before Taking Acitretin
Acitretin should only be used as prescribed by a doctor. There are several things that must be considered before taking this drug, including:
- Do not take acitretin if you are allergic to this medicine or to other retinoid medicines, such as tretinoin or isotretinoin . Tell your doctor about any allergies you have.
- Acitretin should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
- During treatment with acitretin up to 3 years afterward, always use effective contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.
- Tell your doctor if you have liver failure , kidney failure , or hyperlipidemia . Acitretin should not be used in patients suffering from these conditions.
- Do not donate blood during treatment with acitretin for up to 3 years afterward.
- Tell your doctor if you have ever had heart disease , diabetes, liver disease , mental disorders, such as depression , or are currently undergoing phototherapy procedures.
- Do not drive a vehicle or engage in activities that require alertness after taking acitretin, as this drug can cause vision problems.
- Tell your doctor if you are taking certain medications, supplements, or herbal products.
- Limit activities that expose you to direct sunlight during treatment with acitretin, as this medication can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
- See your doctor immediately if you have an allergic drug reaction, serious side effect, or overdose after taking acitretin.
Dosage and Instructions for Use of Acitretin
The following are general doses of acitretin for adults based on the condition to be treated:
- Conditions: Severe psoriasis , severe lichen planus , congenital ichthyosis
Initial dose 25 mg or 30 mg, per day, for 2–4 weeks, adjusted according to patient response to treatment. Maintenance dose 25–50 mg daily for 6–8 weeks. The maximum dose is 75 mg per day.
- Condition: Darier's disease Initial
dose 10 mg, daily, for 2–4 weeks. If needed, the dose may be increased to 25–50 mg per day according to the patient's response to treatment.
Follow the doctor's recommendations and read the instructions for use listed on the packaging before taking acitretin. Do not increase or decrease the dose, and do not use the drug for longer than the time recommended by your doctor.
Before undergoing treatment with acitretin, patients will be asked to undergo blood tests, complete cholesterol checks, and kidney function tests. For female patients, a pregnancy test will be performed before starting treatment with acitretin.
Take acitretin capsules 1 time a day, during or after meals. Acitretin capsules can be swallowed with a glass of milk. It is recommended to take acitretin capsules at the same time every day for maximum benefits.
If you forget to take acitretin, it is advisable to take it immediately if the break with the next schedule is not too close. If it is close, ignore it and do not double the dose.
The results of treatment may only be seen after 2-3 months of taking this drug. Do not stop treatment without consulting your doctor first. Immediately see a doctor if skin irritation occurs or psoriasis symptoms do not improve after 2 months of treatment.
During treatment, you will be asked to do routine check-ups and undergo regular blood tests to monitor the patient's condition.
As much as possible do not use contact lenses while undergoing treatment with acitretin, because this drug can cause dry eyes. Use eye drops prescribed by a doctor to treat dry eye complaints that occur.
Store acitretin capsules indoors in a cool temperature. Protect this medicine from direct sunlight and keep it out of the reach of children.
Acitretin Interactions with Other Drugs
The use of acitretin with other drugs can cause several drug interactions, such as:
- Increased risk of hepatitis if used with methotrexate
- Increased pressure within the brain (intracranial) when used with tetracyclines
- Increased risk of developing hypervitaminosis A when used with vitamin A supplements or other retinoid drugs
- Decreased effect of the drug phenytoin
- Increased blood sugar lowering effect of the drug glyburide
- Decreased effectiveness of birth control pills containing progestin
In addition, taking acitretin with alcoholic beverages can increase the risk of fatal side effects
Side Effects and Dangers of Acitretin
Some of the side effects that may appear after taking acitretin are:
- Dry mouth
- Itchy, red, dry and flaky skin
- Dry or irritated eyes
- Swollen lips
- Hair loss
- Bloody nose or dry nose
- Sleep disturbance
- Nails thicken, change color, or nails are brittle and easily broken
Check with your doctor if the side effects above don't go away or are getting worse. See your doctor immediately if you have an allergic reaction to the drug or a more serious side effect, such as:
- Confusion, depression, or suicidal thoughts
- Fever, chills, joint pain , or muscle aches
- Chest pain, irregular heartbeat , or shortness of breath
- Continuous vomiting
- Body stiff and difficult to move
- Swollen hands or feet
- Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision , twilight myopia , double vision
- Impaired kidney function, which can be characterized by very small amounts of urine when urinating Impaired liver function, which can be characterized by yellow eyeballs and skin ( jaundice )