Bexarotene, also known and sold under the trade name of Targretin, is a product which belongs to the group of drugs known as retinoids – which are vitamin A derivattives.
This product is used in the treatment of skin problems from a certain type of cancer – cutaneous T – cell lymphoma – CTCL. It is considered to work by stopping the growth process of the skin cells. It is available in the form of a capsule.
2 What to Know Before using
Before using Targretin, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. This is a decision that you and your doctor, together, will have to make.
During the consultations, it is important to inform the doctor about:
Allergies – Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any kind of medications, prescribed or no prescribed. Also, inform the healthcare professional about any allergic reactions to any specific kind of food, dye, fabric and etc.
Pediatric – There are no studies done that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used in pediatric patients. Because of this, it should be used only in cases where the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.
Geriatric – Proper studies done have shown that there are no age-connected problems when this medication is used in geriatric patients. However, it is recommended to be used with extra caution because of the increased sensitivity in elderly people.
Pregnancy – Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future. Proper studies done have shown that there is a risk to the fetus if this medication is used during pregnancy. Because of this, this medication should be avoided during pregnancy.
Breastfeeding – Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. There are no studies done that would confirm the safety of this medication when used within nursing mothers. It is unknown if it is extracted in the milk, or how would it affect the infant. Because of this, it should be used only in cases where the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.
Drug interactions – Inform the doctor if you are currently using any other medications, prescribed or no prescribed, even vitamins and herbal tea. This is important because certain medications should not be used in a combination with others, because of the possibility that certain interactions could occur.
However, sometimes the doctor may decide to use a certain type of a combination including two or more medications to treat your condition if he or she considers that combination to prove as beneficial regarding your condition.
Other interactions – Certain medications should not be used in a combination with specific type of food, tobacco, and alcohol. Because of this, it is important to get informed if there is a need for you to follow a specific type of diet and discontinue your use of tobacco and/or alcohol.
Other medical problems – Inform the doctor about your medical history, any other medical problems and conditions from the past or at the moment.
Especially, inform the doctor if there are any of the following conditions present – bone marrow depression, infection, cataracts, chickenpox, herpes zoster, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, kidney disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, or photosensitivity.
To use Targretin properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. This medication is taken orally. Do not break, crush or chew the capsule.
The dose is individual for every patient, prescribed by the doctor and based on your weight, condition and the prognosis of the treatment.
The usual dose is one capsule a day, usually during a meal. Take it regularly in order to get the most beneficial effects from its use.
If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. Do not double to catch up. If overdose is suspected, inform the doctor as soon as possible for further directions.
4 Precautions to Take
Before using Targretin, there are some precautions you must take. Visit your doctor at your scheduled appointments so that he or she would be able to track your condition and make any adjustments if necessary.
These adjustments may refer to the dose – e.g. the doctor may decide to increase or decrease the dose or to the treatment itself – e.g. the doctor may decide to discontinue the treatment with this product if there are any serious side effects present, which would worsen your condition or if your condition does not improve.
Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any kind of medications, prescribed or no prescribed. This is important because this product may contain inactive substances that could cause certain interactions to occur.
Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant. This medication should not be used during pregnancy, due to the studies which confirm the risk to the fetus if this medication is used during pregnancy.
If you have any plans about pregnancy in the near future, the doctor will probably advise you to start using a proven form of birth control to help prevent pregnancy during the treatment.
Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. The doctor will probably decide not to treat you with this medication if you are currently breastfeeding, due to the lack of studies which would confirm the safety of this medication to be used in nursing mothers.
The medication may increase your sensitivity to the sun. Make sure to use a sun cream and wear protective clothing, every time you expose to the sun.
It may also decrease the ability of your body to fight infections. Because of this, you should be more cautious around your hygiene.
5 Potential Side Effects
As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Targretin. These side effects do not occur within all patients, also they could be mild or more serious.
Based on the present side effects, the doctor may decide to make adjustments to the dose, or to the treatment itself – e.g. the doctor may decide to discontinue the treatment if there are any serious side effects that would worsen your condition, or if your condition does not improve.
It is important to get informed about the potential side effects so that you would be able to notice the present side effects and inform the doctor as soon as possible.
Common side effects – a headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dry skin, or trouble sleeping. These side effects are common and are not considered to be serious. But, if they persist or worsen inform the doctor as soon as possible.
Serious side effects – severe abdominal/stomach pain, persistent vomiting/nausea, dark urine, vision changes, yellowing skin/eyes, swelling of the hands/feet, muscle pain/stuffiness, or irregular heartbeat. These are serious side effects which should be reported to the doctor as soon as possible.
A very serious allergic reaction is not common, but if you notice any of the following symptoms, inform the doctor right away – skin rash, swelling/itching of the hands/feet/face/tongue, trouble breathing, or severe dizziness.
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