Tretinoin (Oral)

Tretinoin (By Mouth)

Tretinoin (TRET-i noyn)

Treats a type of leukemia called acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL).

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to tretinoin, isotretinoin, vitamin A, etretinate, or parabens (preservatives used in some medicines).

How to Use This Medicine:

Liquid Filled Capsule

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use and how often.

If a dose is missed:

  • Use your medicine as soon as possible, unless it is almost time for your next dose.  
  • Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next regular dose.  
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the capsules at room temperature in the original container, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.  
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using ketoconazole (Nizoralreg; tablets), cimetidine (Tagametreg;), erythromycin, verapamil, diltiazem, phenobarbital, pentobarbital, rifampin, cyclosporine, or steroid medicines such as betamethasone, cortisone, hydrocortisone, or dexamethasone.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease, High cholesterol, or high triglycerides before using this medicine.  
  • Your doctor will want you to have regular check-ups while you are using this medicine to make sure the medicine is working. Try to keep all appointments made for you.  
  • Do not breastfeed while using this medicine.  
  • Tretinoin may cause birth defects or be harmful to an unborn baby if used during pregnancy. Do not get pregnant while you are using this medicine. Use two reliable forms of birth control while using this medicine and for one month after your last dose. Even if you have had trouble getting pregnant or are past menopause (unless you have had a hysterectomy), you should still use birth control.  
  • About one week before you start using this medicine, your doctor may give you a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant. You may continue to have a pregnancy test every month for as long as you are using tretinoin.  
  • If you think you might have become pregnant after you have started using the medicine, call your doctor right away.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Unexplained fever, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, weight gain  
  • Vision problems, severe headache  
  • Chest pain  
  • Severe mouth sores that keep you from drinking liquids  
  • Bone pain  
  • Rash

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry skin  
  • Dry mouth, nasal dryness  
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting  
  • Mild headache  
  • Feeling weak or tired

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

The drug reference included in this section is provided by Cerner Multum, Inc., of Denver, Colorado. Armenian Medical Network receives monthly updates from Multum.