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Generical name: Bexarotene. bex-AR-oh-teen]

Drug class: Other antineoplastics

What is Targretin?

Targretin can be a treatment for lesions on the skin triggered by a rare form of cancer known as T-cell lymphoma of the cutaneous area. This medication is usually prescribed following the failure of other treatments. Targretin is also employed for other purposes that are not covered in this guideline.

Side effects of Targretin

See a doctor immediately. If you are experiencing symptoms that are warning signs of an allergic response, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of your lips, face, and throat, Targretin could cause serious adverse side effects. Consult your physician immediately. If you suffer from:

  • Eyestrain, blurred vision, or seeing halos in light sources;
  • Low blood cell counts: fever, chills, fatigue, mouth sores, wounds on the skin, sore throat, cough, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling lightheaded or sluggish.
  • Pancreatitis—severe discomfort in your upper stomach, which can spread into the back of your body; vomiting.
  • Symptoms of signs of an underactive thyroid—extreme fatigue, dry skin, constipation, being less sensitive to cold temperatures, and weight gain.

The treatment you receive for cancer could be delayed or completely stopped when you experience certain negative side effects.

Common negative side effects of tartretin include:

  • Low blood cell count;
  • Headache, weakness;
  • Nausea, stomach pain;
  • Rashes, dry skin, or
  • Swelling of your feet or hands.

This is not a comprehensive list of all the side effects. Other effects may also be present. Consult your physician to seek medical advice on adverse effects. You can report any symptoms to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Targretin may harm a baby who is not born as well as cause birth defects when the mother or father is taking it. Do not take this medication if you're expecting. Both women and men taking Targretin must use effective contraception to avoid pregnancy, beginning one month prior to starting and continuing for at least one month after quitting treatment. Stop taking this medication and notify your doctor when you stop taking birth control pills, in the event that you do not have menstrual cycles, or if you have a pregnancy that occurs when both the mother and father are using Targretin.

Before taking this medication

It is not recommended to take Targretin if you are allergic to it or are pregnant. Inform your doctor if you were ever diagnosed with:

  • High cholesterol or triglycerides (a kind of fat that is found in the blood);
  • Pancreatitis;
  • The liver condition;
  • An thyroid disorder;
  • Cataracts;
  • Diabetes;
  • Cancer of the ovary;
  • Gallbladder disorder;
  • If you consume large quantities of alcohol.
  • If you have an allergy to any of the retinoids (isotretinoin, tretinoin, actretin, accutane, soriatae, and vesanoid).

Targretin may cause harm to an unborn baby and cause a birth defect if the mother or father are taking this medication.

If you're male, use condoms during sexual activity if your girlfriend is currently pregnant or capable of becoming pregnant. Use condoms even while using Targretin and for a minimum of one month following your last dose.

If you're female and are not pregnant, you should not take Targretin if you are expecting or plan to be pregnant. It is necessary to have a positive pregnancy test within 7 days prior to the date you begin taking this medication and at least once per month throughout treatment.

  • It is recommended to begin taking Targretin on your 2nd or 3rd day of a normal menstrual cycle.
  • Make use of two effective methods of birth control starting 1 month prior to the time you begin using Targretin. Continue for at least a month after the last dose.
  • At a minimum, one of your methods of birth control must be nonhormonal, like a condom cap for the cervical area, a contraceptive sponge for the diaphragm, or an IUD that contains spermicide.
  • Stop taking the medication and notify your doctor immediately if you stop taking birth control pills or if you do not experience menstrual periods.

If you become pregnant during the time that both the mother and father are taking Targretin, discontinue taking the medicine and consult your doctor as soon as possible. It is not recommended to breastfeed when you're taking Targretin.

How to take Tartrazine?

Follow the instructions on your prescription label and review all medication guides and instruction sheets. The doctor might alter your dosage. Follow the medication precisely as directed. Take it along with food. Consume the capsule whole, but avoid crushing, chewing, or breaking it. You should also not open it. Do not dissolve a capsule into liquid or let it dissolve in the mouth. Targretin dosages are based on the body's surface area (height as well as weight). Your dose needs may change if you gain or lose weight.  There will be frequent blood tests prior to and throughout the treatment using Targretin. You might require a fast (nothing to take in for a set period of time) prior to your blood tests. The next dose of medication may be delayed until test results are normal. Maintain at room temperature and away from heat, humidity, and light. It could take several weeks or even months before you get the full benefit from taking Targretin. Your doctor will decide the time frame for treatment.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Eat the medication immediately and skip any missed dose if you are nearing the time to take the next dose. Don't take two doses at once.

What happens if I overdose?

For medical emergencies, seek emergency medical attention or contact the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Avoid this

Grapefruit can interfere with tartrazine and cause unwanted negative side effects. Beware of using products containing grapefruit. Beware of taking any vitamin A supplement without consulting your physician for a recommendation. Make sure you only take the amount your doctor suggests.Targretin can cause burns more quickly. Avoid tanning beds or sunlight. Protect yourself with protective clothes and apply sunblock (SPF 30 or more) whenever you're outside.

Interaction with other drugs

Inform your doctor about all the medications you take. Certain medications can interact with Targretin, particularly:

  • Gemfibrozil;
  • Insulin or oral diabetes medication.
  • An antimicrobial or antifungal medicine
  • Antiviral medicine, or
  • Seizure medicine.

This is not a complete list, and other drugs could impact Targretin. This includes over-the-counter and prescription medications, vitamins, and herbal products. There are many possible interactions between drugs that are listed here.




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