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acitretin (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking acitretin (Soriatane)?

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to acitretin or similar medications (such as Accutane, Altinac, Avita, Renova, Retin-A, and others), or if you have:

Acitretin is available only under an agreement that you will use birth control and undergo required pregnancy testing, and that you will not consume alcohol while you are taking acitretin and for 2 months after you stop taking it.

To make sure you can safely take acitretin, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • kidney or liver disease;
  • heart disease;
  • high cholesterol;
  • diabetes (you may need to check your blood sugar more often);
  • depression;
  • if you receive phototherapy;
  • if you drink large amounts of alcohol; or
  • if you have ever taken etretinate (Tegison or Tigason).

Acitretin can cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant within 3 years after you stop taking acitretin. You must use 2 effective forms of birth control starting at least 1 month before treatment with acitretin, and for at least 3 years after you stop taking this medication. Use both forms of birth control together every time you have sex.

The first birth control method should include one of the following forms: birth control pills (but not the "mini-pill"), an intrauterine device (IUD), birth control shots, inserts, skin patches, or implants, a tubal ligation, or your male partner's vasectomy.

The second birth control method should include one of the following forms: a latex condom, or a diaphragm or cervical cap used together with a spermicide cream or gel.

For women taking acitretin: Before using acitretin, you must have 2 negative pregnancy tests. The first test is given when your doctor prescribes acitretin. The second test must be given during the first 5 days of your menstrual period just before you start taking acitretin. No testing is needed if you have had a hysterectomy or have gone completely through menopause.

You will need monthly pregnancy tests while you are taking acitretin. If you are not menstruating, your pregnancy test should be done at least 11 days after you last had sex without using 2 effective forms of birth control.

Do not miss a scheduled pregnancy test or you may not be able to continue taking acitretin.

You will also need pregnancy tests every 3 months for at least 3 years after you stop taking this medication.

Call your doctor right away if you think you might be pregnant, if you miss a period, or if you have had sex without using the 2 recommended forms of birth control within 3 years of taking acitretin.

Acitretin can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Do not take acitretin if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take acitretin (Soriatane)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Take acitretin with food.

Your psoriasis may seem to get worse at the start of therapy. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after one course of acitretin treatment.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested often. Your liver function and cholesterol may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

Never share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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