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Alitretinoin (On the skin)

Alitretinoin (a-li-TRET-i-noin)

Treats skin sores caused by Kaposi sarcoma.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to alitretinoin, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Put a generous coating of the gel on your skin sores. Let the gel dry for 3 to 5 minutes before you put clothes on over the medicine. Do not put bandages over the medicine.
  • Missed dose: Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the tube at room temperature, away from heat and sunlight.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Do not use insect repellents that contain DEET while you are using alitretinoin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • This medicine may harm an unborn baby. Use birth control while you are using this medicine. If you think you have become pregnant, stop using the medicine and call your doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to vitamin A, acitretin, isotretinoin, tretinoin, or etretinate.
  • Alitretinoin may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Do not expose the treated areas of your skin to sunlight, a sunlamp, or a tanning booth.
  • The medicine should be used only on your skin. Try not to get the gel on areas of your skin where you do not have sores.
  • Do not use the medicine near your eyes, mouth, nose, vagina, or rectum.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

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

  • Severe rash, blisters, or peeling skin
  • Severe redness or swelling

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

  • Mild redness, rash, itching, or flaking
  • Stinging or burning skin

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 5/1/2020

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