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  • Generic Name: (tretinoin)
    Other Brands: N/A
  • Last Revised: 10/2015
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Retin-A is a topical medicine (applied directly on the skin) used to treat acne. Retin-A is available as a cream and gel.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Retin-A is thought to work by enhancing peeling of the affected skin areas, helping to unclog pores that are affected by acne.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

      What: By helping clear your acne, Retin-A may improve the appearance of your skin.

      When: You may begin to notice an improvement in your acne after 2 to 3 weeks of starting treatment with Retin-A. However, more than 6 weeks may be needed before you see definite beneficial effects.

      How do I know it is working?

      You may start to notice an improvement in the appearance of your skin after starting treatment with Retin-A. This is a good indicator that your medication is working.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      More common side effects may include: skin redness, swelling, blisters, or crusting.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Temporary changes in your skin color.


    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not use Retin-A if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Retin-A. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have eczema (an inflammation or irritation of the skin), sunburned skin, or if you are sensitive to sunlight.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Adults: Apply to the affected area(s) once a day, before bedtime.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Use Retin-A exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not apply more or use Retin-A more often without first talking to your healthcare provider.

      Apply Retin-A to clean, dry skin. Wash your skin with mild, non-medicated soap and dry your skin gently.

      Use enough cream to cover the entire affected area(s) lightly.

      You may use cosmetics with Retin-A, but the areas to be treated should be washed before applying the medicine.

      Your acne may get worse during the early weeks of treatment with Retin-A. This is normal and should last only a short while. Talk to your healthcare provider if this is a problem for you.

      If you are using Retin-A gel, the medication should become invisible almost immediately after applying it. If it is still visible, or if dry flaking occurs within a minute or so, you are using too much.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not expose your skin to excessive sunlight and ultraviolet lights (such as sunlamps or tanning beds) while using Retin-A. Use a daily sunscreen, protective clothing, and a wide brimmed hat to protect your skin from sunlight.

      Do not expose your skin to extreme cold weather or wind, as it may dry out or make your skin more prone to wind burn.

      Do not use skin products that can dry or irritate your skin because skin dryness and irritation are increased with Retin-A.


    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Retin-A is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your healthcare provider before combining Retin-A with the following: acne medications that contain sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid; medicated soap or skin cleansers; or products that contain alcohol, astringents, spices, or lime.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      The effects of Retin-A during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      If you miss a dose of Retin-A, apply it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not apply two doses at once.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store at room temperature.

      Keep Retin-A gel away from heat and flame. It is flammable.


    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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    This discount plan is NOT insurance or a Medicare prescription drug plan. The plan is not intended as a substitute for insurance and does not meet creditable coverage requirements under state or federal law. The plan provides discounts at participating pharmacies on certain pharmaceutical supplies, prescription drugs, or medical equipment and supplies. The range of discounts will vary depending on the products received. Members are obligated to pay the pharmacy the entire amount of the discounted rate for such products at the point of sale. The plan does not pay pharmacies for products provided to members. No enrollment or periodic fees apply. The pharmacy may pay the plan a fee from amounts the pharmacy collects from the member. The discount plan organization is ProCare Pharmacy Benefit Manager, Inc.,1267 Professional Parkway, ProCare Office Park, Gainesville, GA 30507, 1-888-299-5383. Customer service is provided by PDR, LLC., 5 Paragon Drive, Montvale, NJ, 07645, 1-800-232-7379, www.pdr.net/DiscountCard, customerservice@pdr.net.