Acitretin Side Effects
What should I watch for?
Your psoriasis may get worse when you first start taking this medicine. You may have to take it for 2 to 3 months before you see the full benefit.
This medicine can cause birth defects. Do not get pregnant while taking this drug. Females will need to have 2 negative pregnancy tests before starting this medicine and then monthly pregnancy tests during treatment, even if you are not sexually active. Use 2 reliable forms of birth control together for 1 month before, during, and for at least 3 years after stopping this medicine. Avoid using birth control pills that do not contain estrogen. They may not work while you are taking this medicine. If you become pregnant, miss a menstrual cycle, or stop using birth control, you must immediately stop taking this medicine. Severe birth defects may occur. Do not take this medicine before or during breast-feeding.
Before you receive your prescription review the Do Your P.A.R.T. booklet, which includes the Do Your P.A.R.T. Patient Brochure, The Contraceptive Counseling Referral Form for female patients, the Patient Agreement/Informed Consent Form for female patients, and the Medication Guide. If you did not talk to your doctor about this and sign the consent form, contact your health care provider.
Do not share this medicine with anyone else because of the risk of birth defects and other serious adverse effects.
Do not give blood during your treatment and for 3 years after you stop taking it. This medicine in your blood can harm an unborn baby if the blood is given to a pregnant woman. You can still receive blood transfusions while taking this medicine.
If you wear contact lenses, they may feel uncomfortable.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths. If you are receiving light treatment (phototherapy), your doctor may need to change your light dosages to avoid burns.
Your mouth may get dry. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking hard candy, and drinking plenty of water may help. Contact your doctor if the problem does not go away or is severe.
This medicine can increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels and decrease HDL (the 'good' cholesterol) levels. Your health care provider will monitor these levels and recommend appropriate therapy, including dietary changes or prescription drugs, if necessary.
This medicine may affect your blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic check with your doctor or health care professional if you notice any change in your blood sugar tests.
During therapy with this medicine and for 2 months after stopping treatment, you must avoid drinks, foods, and all medicines that contain alcohol. This includes over-the-counter products that contain alcohol. Avoiding alcohol is important because alcohol changes this medicine into a drug that may take longer than 3 years to leave your body. The chance of birth defects may last longer than 3 years if you take any form of alcohol while taking this medicine or for 2 months after stopping treatment.
Common and Rare Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
bone or joint pain
change in taste
continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
difficulty with moving or walking
excessive muscle tone
feeling of warmth
headache (severe and continuing)
increased sensitivity to pain
increased sensitivity to touch
muscle stiffness, tension, or tightness
nausea (severe and continuing)
redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
redness of the skin
thinning of the skin with easy bruising
tingling in the hands and feet
vomiting (severe and continuing)
Abnormal sensation of burning or stinging
cracking, redness, skin irritation, or rash (including a rash that looks like psoriasis)
general feeling of discomfort or illness
increased hair growth on the forehead, back, arms, and legs
infection, ulcers, unusual odor, or small red spots in the skin
itching of the vagina or genital area
loosening of the fingernails
loss of eyebrows or eyelashes
pain during sexual intercourse
redness of the eyes
redness or soreness around the fingernails
redness or swelling of the eyelid
sensitivity of the eyes to light
sore mouth or tongue
thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor
white patches in the mouth or on the tongue
bleeding time increased
coughing up blood
difficulty in breathing or swallowing
double vision or other problems in seeing, including decreased night vision after sunset and before sunrise
increased menstrual flow or vaginal bleeding
itchy or painful ears
pale or cold hands or feet
prolonged bleeding from cuts
red or dark brown urine
sore on the edge of the eyelid (stye)
thick, white, curd-like vaginal discharge
unpleasant breath odor
unusual tiredness or weakness
vaginal itching or irritation
vomiting of blood
yellowing of the skin or eyes
Incidence not known
burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations
difficulty with speaking
doing things to injure oneself
inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles
inability to speak
pain in the chest, groin, or legs, especially calves
pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
sudden loss of coordination
sudden, severe weakness or numbness in the arms or legs
thoughts of killing oneself
unsteadiness or awkwardness
weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
Dizziness or lightheadedness
feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
sensation of spinning
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Chapped, red, or swollen lips
difficulty in wearing contact lenses
dry or runny nose
dryness of the eyes
increased ability to sunburn
increased amount of ear wax (unusual)
irritation in the mouth or swollen gums
loss of hair (usually reversible)
scaling and peeling of the eyelids, fingertips, palms, and soles of feet
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.