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Tazarotene (On the skin)

Tazarotene (taz-AR-oh-teen)

Treats psoriasis and acne. Also used to reduce fine facial wrinkles and certain types of dark and light spots on the face.

Brand Name(s):

Arazlo, Avage, Fabior, Tazorac

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 tazarotene, or if you are pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:

Cream, Foam, Gel/Jelly, Lotion

  • Your doctor will tell you how much medicine to use. Do not use more than directed. This medicine is usually applied in the evening or at bedtime.
  • Read and follow the patient instructions that come with this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • This medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not get it into your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you do, rinse the area right away with plenty of water. If you are using this medicine on your hands, be careful to not touch your eyes after you apply this medicine. Do not use on skin areas that have cuts, scrapes, sunburn, or an itchy, scaly, red rash.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use this medicine, unless you are treating skin areas on your hands. Wash off any medicine that gets on skin areas that do not need to be treated.
  • To treat acne: Gently wash and dry your face. Apply a thin layer of medicine to cover all of the skin where the acne usually occurs.
  • To treat psoriasis: Make sure your skin is completely dry before you apply the medicine. Apply a thin layer only to the affected area. Rub it in gently. If you use any kind of lotion or cream on your skin, apply it at least 1 hour before you apply this medicine.
  • If you are using Fabior™ foam, dispense a small amount of foam into your palm. Apply only enough foam to lightly cover the affected areas of the face and upper body. Gently rub it until the foam disappears. Avoid fire, flame, or smoking during and right after you apply the foam.
  • To use the Avage® cream: Gently wash your face with mild soap. Remove any makeup before applying the cream to the face. Rinse and pat your skin dry. Apply a pea-sized amount to lightly cover your face, including the eyelids, if desired. Do not get any cream into your eyes. If contact occurs, rinse with water. Wash your hands after applying the cream. You may apply a moisturizing sunscreen in the morning, and wear protective clothing while using this medicine. You can also use a cream or lotion to soften or moisturize your skin before or after you apply Avage® cream.
  • If you are using Tazorac® gel, wash your hands right away with water. Use protective clothing and sunscreen if you are going outside. You can also use a cream or lotion to soften or moisturize your skin at least 1 hour before you apply Tazorac® gel.
  • Do not cover the treated area with a bandage unless directed by your doctor.
  • You may need to use this medicine for several weeks or months before your skin starts to look better. Applying extra medicine will not make it work faster.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip it and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not use more medicine to make up for the missed dose.
  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not freeze the Fabior™ foam. Do not spray or use it near heat, open flame, or while you smoke. Do not puncture, break, or burn the can.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Some medicines can affect how tazarotene works. Tell your doctor if you are using any of the following:
    • Antibiotic (including ciprofloxacin, gemifloxacin, levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, tetracycline)
    • Benzoyl peroxide
    • Diuretic (water pill)
    • Phenothiazine medicine
    • Sulfa drug
    • Vitamin A supplements
  • Do not use any other medicines on the treated skin areas without asking your doctor. Avoid using any skin care products that can dry or irritate your skin. These include rough skin cleansers, hair removal products, soaps or cosmetics that cause dryness, or products that contain alcohol, astringents, spices, or lime.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • It is not safe to take this medicine during pregnancy. It could harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. You must have a negative pregnancy test within 2 weeks before you start using this medicine. Your doctor may tell you to start using the medicine during your menstrual period.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, or if you have eczema, other skin problems, sunburn, or a history of skin cancer.
  • Do not use this medicine to treat a skin problem your doctor has not examined.
  • This medicine makes your skin more sensitive to irritation and more likely to burn. Avoid exposing your skin to wind, cold weather, and sunlight, even on cloudy days. Do not use a sunlamp or tanning bed. Use a sunscreen or sunblock lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 on a regular basis. Wear protective clothing when you are outside.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse. Psoriasis should start to improve within 2 weeks. Acne may take 4 weeks or longer to start improving.
  • Your doctor will check your progress and the effects of this medicine at regular visits. Keep all appointments.
  • 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:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blisters, swelling, rash, or red, scaly, crusty skin
  • Severe skin itching, burning, redness, peeling, or pain

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

  • Changes in color of treated skin
  • Mild skin itching, peeling, stinging, burning, or dryness

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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