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Patients who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not take bexarotene. Bexarotene carries a significant chance of giving birth to a child who has birth defects (problems that are present at birth).

You should discuss the dangers of using bexarotene with your doctor.

Patients who are female:

If you are capable of getting pregnant, you must refrain from doing so while taking bexarotene. You must use two reliable methods of birth control for a month prior to starting bexarotene, throughout your treatment, and for a further month after finishing it. You’ll learn which birth control methods are permitted from your doctor. It is crucial to use a second method of birth control in addition to bexarotene because it may reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives (birth control tablets, patches, rings, implants, and injections).

On the second or third day of your period, you’ll start taking bexarotene. Within a week after beginning therapy and once a month while receiving it, you must test negative for pregnancy. Only one month’s worth of bexarotene will be administered to you after each negative pregnancy test.

If you believe you could be pregnant, if you miss a period, or if you have sex without using two kinds of birth control, stop taking bexarotene and contact your doctor right once.

Men’s health patients:

While taking bexarotene and for one month following treatment, you must use a condom each time you have intercourse with a female who is pregnant or capable of getting pregnant. If your partner becomes pregnant at this period, call your doctor.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Skin cancer known as cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) is treated with bexarotene in patients whose condition was unresponsive to at least one prior drug. Bexarotene belongs to the group of drugs known as retinoids. It functions by halting the development of cancer cells.

How should this medicine be used?

Bexarotene is available as a pill to swallow. It is typically taken with food once a day. Bexarotene should be taken every day at about the same time. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Bexarotene should be taken as prescribed. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Do not chew, dissolve in liquid, or break open the capsules; instead, swallow them whole. Speak with your doctor if you find it difficult to take the pills whole.

If bexarotene gets on the skin, it could be dangerous. If the capsules are cracked or leaking, avoid touching them or the powder they contain. Call your doctor right away and wash the affected area with soap and water if a broken capsule’s powder gets on your skin.

Your doctor will start you on a typical dose of bexarotene and may change it if you have adverse effects or boost it if things don’t get better.

Before you experience the full benefits of bexarotene, it could take months or even longer. Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking bexarotene.

For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your pharmacist or doctor.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking bexarotene,

  • If you have any allergies, including to bexarotene, other retinoids such acitretin (Soriatane), etretinate (Tegison), isotretinoin (Accutane), or tretinoin (Vesanoid), or any other medications, let your doctor and pharmacist know right once.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Incorporate any of the following: erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); amiodarone (Cordarone); some antifungals such ketoconazole (Nizoral) and itraconazole (Sporanox); cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin); diltiazem (Cardizem); fluvoxamine; gemfibrozil (Lopid), insulin and oral diabetic medicines; nefazodone; phenobarbital; phenytoin; rifampin; tamoxifen; nolvadex; verapamil; and vitamin A. HIV protease inhibitors like indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), and ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects. Be sure to inform your doctor of all the drugs you are taking, even those not on this list, as many other drugs may also interact with bexarotene.
  • If you consume substantial amounts of alcohol now or have previously done so, let your doctor know. Additionally, let your doctor know if you have ever experienced pancreatitis, high blood cholesterol or other fatty substances, diabetes, cataracts, or conditions affecting the thyroid, kidney, liver, or gallbladder.
  • Inform your doctor if you are nursing a baby.
  • Inquire with your doctor if drinking alcohol is safe for you to do while taking bexarotene. Bexarotene side effects can be exacerbated by alcohol.
  • Make a plan to limit your time spent in the sun and to use sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothes. Your skin could become photosensitive if you take bexarotene.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

If you plan to consume grapefruits or grapefruit juice while taking this medication, consult your doctor.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

As soon as you recall, take the missed dose with food. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Bexarotene may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness
  • Heightened cold sensitivity
  • Gain in weight
  • Depression
  • Muscular or joint ache
  • Thin, brittle fingernails or hai
  • Constipation
  • Rash
  • Arid skin
  • Skin irritation, scaling, or ruddiness
  • Hair fall
  • Ankle, foot, and leg swelling
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if any of these symptoms occur to you:

  • Sudden or persistent stomach or back pain
  • Severe and persistent diarrhoea
  • Fever, chills, a sore throat, or other symptoms of infection
  • Alterations to vision

Bexarotene may cause your blood to have more cholesterol and other lipids, and it may also prevent your thyroid gland from functioning normally. In order to determine whether you are suffering one of these side effects, your doctor will closely monitor you. If you suffer either of these adverse effects while using bexarotene, your doctor may recommend another drug to treat the problem.

Other negative effects of bexarotene may occur. 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 excess heat, light, and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

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

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To monitor your body’s reaction to bexarotene, your doctor will request specific lab tests.

Inform the lab staff and your doctor that you are taking bexarotene prior to any laboratory test.

No one else should take your medication. 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

  • Targretin® Capsules
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