1 What is Soriatane?

Brand: Soriatane

Generic: Acitretin

Soriatane (Acitretin) is a drug which is used for the treatment of severe skin problems like psoriasis. Soriatane is a retinoid (a form of vitamin A). Soriatane reduces thickness, scaling, and inflammation of psoriasis lesions. The exact mechanism of how Soriatane works for psoriasis is not well understood.

Soriatane does not cure psoriasis. Psoriasis symptoms may return once Soriatance is discontinued.

Soriatane is highly contraindicated in pregnant patients because it causes birth defects.

Soriatane is available as capsules that you take by mouth. Soriatane is a prescription drug and must be used only with doctor’s supervision.

2 What to Know Before Using

Your doctor will first consider the following before prescribing Soriatane.

Important information before taking Soriatane

Before taking Soriatane, the doctor will usually ask you to sign an agreement stating you will use birth control, avoid pregnancy, and avoid alcohol, and continue to do so for at least 2 months after last taking the drug.  

Soriatane packaging comes with a medication guide that gives complete information about its risks and precautions. Make sure to understand the information in this guide before using Soriatane.


Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or suspected to be pregnant before taking Soriatane. Do not take Soriatane if you are trying to get pregnant or plan to get pregnant within 3 years.

Soriatane is an FDA pregnancy category X drug, which means it is highly contraindicated in pregnant patients. Soriatane and other retinoids can cause birth defects. To women patients, the doctor may first order two pregnancy tests before starting treatment with Soriatane, as well as monthly pregnancy tests while taking the drug. Also, you have to undergo a pregnancy test every 3 months after last taking Soriatane.  


You cannot breastfeed if you are taking Soriatane.

Donating blood

You cannot donate blood when taking Soriatane, and you cannot do so for at least 3 years after last taking Soriatane. This is because donated blood can be given to pregnant patients and cause harm.


You cannot drink alcohol when taking Soriatane. Be aware that certain medications or even mouthwashes contain alcohol. Alcohol converts Soriatane into another compound that takes around 3 years to be removed from the body.

Drug interactions

Soriatane can interact with certain drugs and cause undesirable effects. You can avoid this by telling the doctor all the medicines you take before taking Soriatane. Tell the doctor if you take any of the following medicines:

  • Methotrexate, which is often used for psoriasis. You cannot take Soriatane if you are taking Methotrexate.
  • Tetracycline antibiotics such as Demeclocycline, Doxycycline, Minocycline, Tetracycline and others. You cannot take Soriatane if you take tetracycline antibiotics.
  • Birth control pills, notably mini pills. Soriatane may reduce the effectiveness of mini pills. Note that you must not get pregnant when taking Soriatane.
  • Etretinate, which is also used for psoriasis.
  • Phenytoin
  • Glyburide
  • St. John’s wort
  • Hormone replacement therapy drugs


You cannot take Soriatane if you are allergic to it. You also cannot take Soriatane if you have allergies to other retinoids such as Retinol, Tretinoin, Isotretinoin, Tazarotene, and Bexarotene.

Health conditions

Tell all your health problems to the doctor before starting to use Soriatane. You cannot take Soriatane if you have the following health conditions:

  • Severe liver disease
  • Severe kidney disease
  • High triglyceride levels

Soriatane must be used with caution if you have any of the following:

3 Proper Usage

Soriatane is available in capsules that you take by mouth. Soriatane is usually taken once a day. Take Soriatane. Follow your doctor’s dosage in taking Soriatane.

Your doctor will usually prescribe Soriatane to last only a month. You need to be frequently seen by the doctor and have lab tests regularly when taking Soriatane.

Note that psoriasis tends to worsen at the first few weeks of using Soriatane. Just keep using them as directed.

Do not share Soriatane to others.

If you missed a dose of Soriatane, take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and stick to the usual dosing schedule. Do not take more Soriatane to make up for the missed dose.

If you took too much Soriatane, call emergency medical services right away.

Store Soriatane at room temperature away from heat, light, and moisture.

4 Precautions to Take

Make sure to have monthly pregnancy tests while taking Soriatane. Note that you may not receive a prescription for Soriatane if you missed scheduled pregnancy tests.

It is important not to get pregnant while taking Soriatane. If you have sex, you have to use two different birth control methods. The first method should be a condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, all with spermicide. The second method should be IUD, birth control pills (but not mini pills), birth control shots, inserts, skn patches, or implants, tubal ligation or vasectomy.

Any amount of alcohol can be harmful, so avoidalcohol when taking Soriatane. Note that some mouthwashes, certain dishes, and medicines (like some cough syrups) contains alcohol, and you must avoid them.

Note that Soriatane may impair your vision, especially at night. Be careful when driving or performing dangerous tasks.

Avoid taking vitamin A when taking Soriatane. Soriatane itself is a form of vitamin A, and taking vitamin A supplements can cause a serious overdose.

Soriatane makes your skin burn easily. Avoid using tanning beds or sunbathing when using Soriatane. If you go outdoors, wear protective clothing and use sunblock with at least 30 SPF.

Note that you have to avoid donating blood when you received Soriatane.  

If you have unprotected sex, became pregnant, or seems that the Soriatane makes psoriasis symptoms worse after taking it for a month, call your doctor right away. 

5 Potential Side Effects

Soriatane can cause serious side effects. If you have any of the following, stop using Soriatane and call the doctor right away:

  • Severe allergic reaction symptoms such as difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.
  • Symptoms of heart attack such as chest pain or dull pressure on the chest that radiate to the neck, jaw, shoulders, or the back.
  • Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness, sudden severe headache, problems with speech and balance, swelling or warmth in one or both legs.
  • Symptoms of serious liver problems such as upper stomach pain, nausea, itching, tiredness, loss of appetite, upper abdominal pain, passing out clay-colored stools or dark urine, and jaundice.
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst, urination, hunger, dryness of the mouth and skin, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, and losing weight.
  • Symptoms of severe skin reaction such as itching, redness, pain, swelling of the skin, the appearance of red skin rash with peeling and blistering.
  • Symptoms of problems in the blood vessels such as sudden swelling, rapid weight gain, fever, muscle pain, and lightheadedness.
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Swelling and bleeding gums
  • Loss of sensation or feeling in the hands or feet
  • Trouble moving
  • Pain in the back, joints, muscles, and bones
  • Depression
  • Aggression or irritability
  • Unusual thoughts, behavior, or changes in personality
  • Sudden decrease in night vision
  • Blurred vision
  • A headache or pain behind the eyes, sometimes with nausea and vomiting

Soriatane may cause minor side effects such as:

  • Dryness of the eyes
  • Dryness of the mouth or chapped lips
  • Dry or a runny nose, and nosebleeds
  • Peeling of the skin of the hands or feet
  • Hair loss
  • Mild itching
  • Scaling or sticky feeling in the skin
  • Weak nails or fragile skin
  • Mild joint pain
  • Muscle stiffness

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