ACITRETIN - Watsons Health





Description: Acitretin is an active metabolite of etretinate but its mechanism of action is unknown.

Acitretin is used to treat of severe psoriasis and other skin disorders in adults.

How to use acitretin

  • Take this medication by mouth, usually once a day with meal.
  • Dosage is based on your specific condition and you must not take more than prescribed.
  • The full benefit of this medication may be seen in 2 to 3 months.
  • Pregnant women should not handle this medication as it may cause harm to the baby.

This is contraindicated to women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant within 3 years because this drug can cause birth defects.  Consult with your doctor about taking birth control pills.

Refrain from drinking alcohol while using acitretin and for 2 months after stopping it because alcohol causes this drug to stay in the body longer.

Watch out for unlikely but serious side effects: yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, persistent nausea/vomiting/loss of appetite, severe stomach/abdominal pain, unusual tiredness, persistent/severe headache, or vision changes (such as blurred/double vision, decreased vision).

This medication has also been linked to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) which may manifest as persistent, lower abdominal pain.

Contact your physician if you feel any symptoms mentioned.

During the first several weeks, you may experience more redness, itching, skin scaling, peeling and dry skin as the body adjusts to the drug.

Contact your doctor if the following side effects are experienced: dry eyes, eye irritation, crusting of the eye lids, increased sensitivity to sunlight, dry mouth, peeling of the skin of fingertips, palms or soles of feet, chapped lips, runny nose, thirst, taste changes and hair loss may also occur.

Contact lens wearers may be uncomfortable while taking this drug because it causes dry eyes.

Serious side effects include: decreased night vision, fever, chills, dizziness, aches and pain in the bones or joints, muscle pain/tenderness/weakness, difficulty moving, swelling, sudden weight gain, change in the amount of urine, mood changes (e.g., depression, aggressive or violent behavior, and in rare cases thoughts of suicide).

If you experience these symptoms and in case of allergic reactions, consult your doctor immediately.


Inform your doctor or pharmacist your allergies, medical history, especially if you’re taking other retinoid drugs, history of kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, receive phototherapy.

As mentioned, this is contraindicated to pregnant women.  Thus, do not donate blood while taking this drug and for at least 3 years after stopping therapy to prevent being given to a pregnant woman.

Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths or sunlamps as this would make you more sensitive to the sun.

Avoid doing activities that require alertness such as driving and using machinery as this medication may cause vision changes.

Just as it is contraindicated to pregnant women and women planning to get pregnant,breast-feeding is not recommended while using this medication and for at least three years after the medication has been stopped.



Some products that may interact with this drug include: methotrexate, St. John’s wort, tetracycline antibiotics, vitamin A.


Get emergency medical help when overdose is suspected.

Missed Dose: As soon as you remember, take a regular dose or if the time of the next dose is near, wait for it before taking another dose and resume your usual schedule. Do not increase the dose to compensate for the missed dose.

Storage: Store medications in Room temperature Do not expose to light and moisture Do not store in the bathroom Keep all medications away from pets and children Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour into a drain.



Available Brands

  • Neotigason [ Actavis ]

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