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Drug Information

What is Acitretinused for?

Acitretin is used in the treatment of severe psoriasis (autoimmune skin condition with patches of abnormal skin)

Acitretin may also be prescribed for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

How does Acitretin work?

Acitretin belongs to retinoid class of drugs. The exact mechanism how Acitretin works is not known.

How to take Acitretin?

  • The dosage of oral capsules of Acitretin depends on the age, weight and medical condition of an individual.
  • Take Acitretin capsules as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Acitretin is taken normally once a day with the meal.
  • Acitretin capsules should be taken at the same time each day.
  • If you miss a dose of Acitretin, please take it immediately once you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, then skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.

What should you do when you have taken an overdose of Acitretin?

If you have taken an overdose of Acitretin, please contact your doctor immediately.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • Bone or joint pain
  • Dizziness
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

What are the drugs that interact with Acitretin?

Drugs that interact with Acitretin:

  • Anti-diabetic drugs
  • Low dose progesterone (birth control pills), mini pill
  • Methotrexate
  • Phenytoin
  • Tetracycline or Tetracycline based antibiotics
  • Vitamin A

This is not a comprehensive list of drug interactions. Consult your doctor to know more about other possible drug interactions.

What are the side effects of Acitretin?

Most common side effects of Acitretin are: 

  • Abnormal skin odour
  • Brittle fingernails and toenails
  • Changes in hair texture, dandruff, hair loss, loss of eyebrows or eyelashes
  • Changes in taste
  • Chapped or swollen lips
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Dry eyes
  • Excessive saliva, excessive sweating, hot flashes
  • Joint pain
  • Mouth swelling or blisters
  • Nosebleed
  • Peeling, itchy, dry, scaling, cracked, sticky, blistered or infected skin
  • Sinus infection
  • Stomach pain
  • Swollen or bleeding gums
  • Tongue pain or blistering

Please stop your tablets and contact your physician immediately if you have

  • bone, muscle or back pain, chest pain, cold, grey or pale skin;
  • depression;
  • difficulty moving any part of your body;
  • dizziness;
  • dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, breath that smells fruit, shortness of breath and decreased consciousness;
  • ear pain or ringing;
  • extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, or weakness;
  • eye pain;
  • fast heartbeat;
  • loss of feeling in hands or feet, pain, swelling, tingling in arms and legs, redness of eyes or eyelids;
  • shortness of breath, slow or difficult speech, slow or irregular heartbeat;
  • swelling of hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs;
  • thoughts of hurting/killing yourself;
  • weakness or heaviness in legs.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.

What special precautions should be followed while taking Acitretin?

Seek doctor’s advice before taking any other drug or herbal products while on Acitretin.

You are advised not to take Acitretin if       

  • it has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.
  • the foil or packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering or there is discolouration.

What should you tell your doctor before taking Acitretin?

Tell your doctor if

  • you are allergic to Acitretin or other medicine from the same class.
  • you have a history of severe allergy to any other retinoid drugs or their ingredients.
  • you are taking any other drugs, OTC medications, herbal products or nutritional supplements.
  • you have a history of high cholesterol or kidney problems.
  • you have a history of a stroke, depression or any bone disease.
  • you are planning a surgery or any procedure.
  • you are pregnant or trying to conceive or are breastfeeding.

Frequently asked questions about Acitretin

  1. Can I drive while taking Acitretin?
  2. Do not drive while on Acitretin as the medicine can cause vision changes and        drowsiness.

  3. How should Acitretin be stored?
  4. Acitretin must be stored in original package at 15oC to 25oC. Keep away from sunlight, moisture and heat.

  5. Should I follow any special dietary instructions while taking Acitretin ?
  6.           No, you can have your normal diet unless advised by your doctor.

  7. Can I drink alcohol with Acitretin ?
  8. Do not drink alcohol until two months of treatment with Acitretin as the medicine potentiates the effects of alcohol.


The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Please seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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