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Differin (Generic Adapalene)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Adults and children over the age of 12 can both use adapalene to treat their acne. 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 prescription medication that can be applied to the skin as a gel, a solution (liquid), a lotion, a cream, or a pledget (a single-use medicated swab). 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 chemist to explain any instructions that you do not understand, and carefully follow any instructions listed on the packaging or label for your prescription. Adapalene should only be used as prescribed. Use 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.

While controlling acne, adapalene does not treat it. Before you get the full benefits of adapalene, it may take 8 to 12 weeks or longer. During the first few weeks of treatment, your acne may develop worse. Adapalene may cause previously hidden pimples to appear on your skin during the first few weeks of your treatment. Even if your acne gets worse or you first don’t notice significant improvement, keep using adapalene.

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, vagina, or eyes. Adapalene may cause your eyes to become red, itchy, or swollen if it gets in your eyes.

During the initial two to four weeks of your treatment, your skin may feel dry or sensitive. Speak with your doctor if your skin ever stings, burns, or becomes irritated while you are receiving therapy. To deal with dryness, your doctor might advise using a moisturiser or suggesting using it less frequently.

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

To use the cream, gel, or solution, follow these steps:

  1. Wash the affected skin gently with a light soap or a cleanser without soap, then pat it dry with a soft cloth. Don’t scrub your skin vigorously, and avoid using strong or abrasive cleaners. Get a gentle cleanser recommendation from your physician or chemist.
  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. If you are using the solution, use a clean cotton swab or other applicator to apply a thin layer to the affected region. Adapalene lotion is packaged with a pump that releases precise dosages of the drug. Apply a thin layer of the medication over the troubled area if you’re using the lotion. If you’re using the lotion, press down on the top of the pump 3-4 times to let the drug come out onto your palm. 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 chemist 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 an allergy to adapalene, any other drugs, or any ingredient in adapalene topical preparations, let your doctor and chemist know right once. Get a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and chemist about any vitamins, nutritional supplements, herbal items, and prescription and over-the-counter medicines you are taking or using.
  • If you have eczema or any other skin issue, 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. Use the least amount of adapalene possible during breastfeeding, and avoid applying it directly to the nipple and areola (the coloured area around each nipple).
  • Plan to use protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen and to prevent unnecessary or prolonged exposure to natural and artificial sunshine (tanning beds and sunlamps). This is especially important if you are prone to sunburn. Your skin may become more susceptible to ultraviolet or sunlight if you take adapalene.
  • You should be aware that harsh weather conditions like wind and cold might be particularly annoying.
  • All skin care items you use, including soaps, cleansers, moisturisers, and cosmetics, should be disclosed to your doctor. If you combine adapalene with many skin care products, your skin may become irritated, especially if the products are harsh, dry out the skin, contain alcohol, spices, or lime rind. Your doctor might advise you to wait before using adapalene if you have been using these products. Get product suggestions from your doctor for items that won’t aggravate your skin.
  • For the course of your adapalene treatment, avoid using hot wax to remove unwanted hair from the region being treated.

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
  • Stinging or scorching
  • The application site is painful

Certain adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you encounter any of these symptoms, or seek emergency care:

  • Itching, hives, shortness of breath, or breathing issues
  • Enlargement of the throat, lips, tongue, eyes, or face

Further 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. Keep it away from excessive heat 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 Medications website at for additional information.

Although 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 your neighbourhood poison control centre at 1-800-222-1222 if someone consumes adapalene. Dial 911 to reach the nearest emergency services if the sufferer has collapsed or has stopped breathing.

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 prescription refills should be directed to your chemist.

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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