Bexarotene is used to treat skin problems from a certain type of cancer (cutaneous T-cell lymphoma-CTCL). It works by slowing or stopping the growth of these cancer cells. Bexarotene belongs to a class of drugs called retinoids (drugs related to vitamin A).
Read the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start using bexarotene and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This medication is for use on the skin only. Do not apply this medication into mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose, mouth, lips, vagina, tip of the penis, rectum, or anus. Avoid applying to healthy areas of skin because irritation or redness can occur.
Wash your hands immediately with soap and water before and after using this medication. Cover the affected skin area with a generous layer of gel. Allow the gel to dry for 5 to 10 minutes before covering the area with clothing. This medication is usually applied once every other day for the first week, then increased at weekly intervals to once a day, then twice a day, then 3 times a day, and then finally 4 times a day, or as directed by your doctor. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. If side effects occur, your doctor may direct you to apply this medication less often or temporarily stop use until the side effects lessen.
Do not cover, bandage, or wrap the treated area unless your doctor directs you to do so. Wait at least 20 minutes after showering or bathing before applying this medication. Use a mild soap when washing the skin to reduce irritation. Avoid showering, bathing, or swimming for at least 3 hours after applying this medication.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day. You may start to see some benefit as early as 4 weeks after starting treatment, but usually you will not get the full benefit until close to a year or more of use. Continue to use this medication and do not stop until your doctor directs you to do so.
Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication. Learn proper technique for safe handling and disposal of this medicine and its container. Consult your pharmacist.
Pain, redness, irritation, itching, or flaking of the skin may occur at the application site. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor immediately if this unlikely but serious side effect occur: sunburn (sun sensitivity).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Bexarotene can commonly cause a rash that is usually not serious. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a rare rash that could be a sign of a severe reaction. Therefore, seek immediate medical attention if you develop any rash.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using bexarotene, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other retinoids such as acitretin, etretinate, isotretinoin, or tretinoin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors.
This medication must not be used during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor immediately. To make sure that you are not pregnant, you should have a pregnancy test before you start treatment with bexarotene and every month while you are using this medication. Consult your doctor to discuss reliable forms of birth control. Use 2 effective forms of birth control together (or completely avoid sexual intercourse) for 1 month before treatment starts, during treatment, and for 1 month after you stop treatment. Males using this medication with partners who are pregnant or may become pregnant must use a condom during sexual activity during treatment and for at least 1 month after treatment ends.
It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Due to the possible harm to the nursing infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor or pharmacist first.
This drug should not be used with the following products because very serious interactions may occur: insect repellents that contain DEET.
If you are currently using any product listed above, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting bexarotene.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially of: vitamins/supplements that contain vitamin A.
This document does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist.
This medicine may be harmful if swallowed. If swallowing or overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store with the cap tightly closed at room temperature at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Brief storage between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) is permitted. Keep away from heat and open flame. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised December 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
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