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Why is this medication prescribed?

Acne is treated with adapalene. Adapalene belongs to the group of drugs known as retinoid-like compounds. It functions by preventing acne from growing beneath the skin’s surface.

How should this medicine be used?

Adapalene is a skin-applying cream, solution (liquid), and gel that is available only by prescription. The remedy is offered in individual pledgets and a glass bottle with an applicator (medicated wipes for one time use). Adapalene is available without a prescription (over the counter) and is applied to the skin as a gel. Adapalene is typically administered at nighttime once a day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions that you do not understand, and carefully follow any instructions listed on the packaging or label for your medication. Adapalene should only be used as prescribed. Apply it only as directed by your doctor or as directed on the packaging, never more, never less. Adapalene application in excess or more frequently than advised will not hasten or improve outcomes, but it may irritate your skin.

Acne cannot be cured but is controlled by adapalene. It may take 8 to 12 weeks or longer before you get the full benefits of adapalene, and your acne may get worse during the initial few weeks of treatment. In the initial few weeks of your treatment, adapalene may cause pimples to break out on the skin’s surface. Pimples can take 6 to 8 weeks to originate beneath the skin. Adapalene should still be used even if your acne gets worse or you first do not notice significant improvement.

Adapalene should not be used on skin that has been burned, damaged, or infected with eczema (a skin disease). Adapalene should not be applied if you have any of these conditions until your skin has recovered.

Avoid getting adapalene in your mouth, nose, or eyes. If you do accidentally get adapalene in your eyes, immediately call your doctor and wash your eyes thoroughly. It’s possible for your eyes to itch, swell, or get sick.

Use the cream, gel, or solution as directed below:

  1. Use a soft towel to pat dry after gently washing the afflicted skin with a light soap or soapless cleaner. Avoid using abrasive or harsh cleaners, and don’t scrub your skin too hard. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a gentle cleanser recommendation.
  2. If you’re using a gel or cream, distribute a light layer of the medication with your fingertips over the affected area. When using a pledget, take it out of the foil pouch and use it to gently clean the afflicted region. Apply a thin application to the afflicted area with the accompanying applicator if you’re using the glass bottle of solution. Not just one pimple or spot should receive adapalene treatment; the entire affected region should.
  3. Adapalene may cause a mild burning or stinging sensation where it was applied. This emotion is normal and ought to pass quickly on its own.
  4. After using a pledget, throw it away. Don’t keep it for later use.

Other uses for this medicine

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking adapalene,

  • If you have a reaction to adapalene or any other medicine, tell your doctor and pharmacist right away.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any vitamins, nutritional supplements, herbal items, and prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking or using. Include all skin care items, such as soaps, cleansers, moisturisers, and cosmetics. If you combine adapalene with many skin care products, your skin may become irritated. This is particularly common if you use products that are abrasive, dry out the skin, or have ingredients like alcohol, spices, lime rind, sulphur, resorcinol, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acid. Your doctor might advise you to wait until your skin has returned to normal if you have been using these products before using adapalene.
  • If you have cancer or eczema, let your doctor know.
  • Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking adapalene.
  • In particular, if you are prone to sunburn, wear protective clothes, sunglasses, and sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. You should also avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to both natural and artificial sunlight (such as that from tanning beds and sunlamps). Avert extended exposure to wind or the cold. Your skin may become more sensitive to the sun and harsh weather if you take adapalene.
  • Avoid using hot wax to remove unwanted hair while receiving adapalene therapy.
  • You should be aware that moisturisers may help soothe any irritated or dry skin that may result from using adapalene.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

As soon as you realise you missed a dose, administer it. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. Applying a second dose to make up for a missed one is not advised.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Adapalene could have negative effects. During the first two to four weeks of treatment, you may experience the following skin-related symptoms. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Redness
  • Scaling
  • Dryness
  • Burning or stinging
  • Itching

When laboratory animals were given drugs identical to adapalene and subjected to natural or artificial sunlight, the medications resulted in tumour development. Adapalene may put individuals at an increased risk of developing cancers, however this is unknown. While taking adapalene, avoid direct sunlight and sunlamps, and discuss the potential side effects of this drug with your doctor.

Other negative effects of adapalene are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom). Make careful to store the bottle of adapalene solution upright if you’re using one.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

In case of emergency/overdose

Adapalene should not be ingested. Call your local poison control centre at 1-800-222-1222 if you accidentally swallow adapalene.

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your doctor’s appointments.

Do not share your medication with anybody else. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Differin®
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