Tazarotene

Tazarotene is usually used for the treatment of acne, psoriasis and damaged skin.

Overview

For a patient that suffers from acne to the face, Tazarotene works by keeping the pores of the skin clear. It has also been used for fine wrinkles on the face and for patients who are on a program for skin care that means they must avoid sunlight, and that have certain types of dark and light spots.

In addition to helping patients with these conditions it has also been used for the treatment of psoriasis, working in a way that ensures the lesions on the skin are both reduced in size and are less red.

Conditions Treated:

  • Facial acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Patients on skin care programs

Type of medicine:

  • Retinoids

Side Effects:

As with all medicines, there are sometimes often unwanted side effects that come with the usage of this medicine. Not all of the listed effects occur, but if they do, it is vital that the patient seeks medical advice from their doctor or health care professional.

Common side effects of using Tazarotene include a severe burning or stinging sensation of the skin, a change in color of the area of skin treated and deep grooves or lines within the skin. Other side effects that have been reported by patients include severe dryness, itching, peeling or redness of the treated skin, pain or swelling of the treated area. For patients with psoriasis, they have reported experiencing skin rash.

When these types of side effects occur in patients, it would not normally warrant medical attention. Usually as treatment progresses, the patient’s body would begin to adjust to the medicine and these side effects reduce. If a patient has concerns they can consult with a health care professional and be given advice on ways in which they can either prevent or reduce the side effects.

Other common side effects reported by patients include a burning or stinging sensation after application, mild itching, dryness, peeling or redness of the treated skin area.

As is the case with most medicines, a patient may experience side effects that have not been listed. If this is the case and a patient has any questions they can consult with their doctor or health care professional as soon as possible.

Dosage

Patients are advised to follow dosing instructions as instructed by either their doctor or health care professional or as instructed on the attached label.

The dosage of tazarotene comes in three forms:

  • Foam
  • Gel/Jelly
  • Cream

This information is based only on the average dose of tazarotene. If a patient’s dose is different, then they must only take it as directed.

The amount of tazarotene taken depends upon medicine strength, the number of times a dose is required each day and the time between doses. The period of time treatment lasts depends upon the medical condition for which tazarotene has been prescribed.

For topical form (cream 0.1%):

To reduce facial wrinkles and dark and light facial spots:

  • 17 years and older: The patient will apply a thin layer once a day to the affected area, before bed.
  • 17 years and younger: The use and dosage of tazarotene for children is decided by the prescribing doctor.

Dosage topical form (cream):

Treatment of psoriasis:

  • Adults: the patient will apply a thin layer once a day, to the affected area, either before bed or in the evening.
  • Children: the use and dosage of tazarotene for children is decided by the prescribing doctor.

Topical form (foam):

For acne:

  • Children and adults 12 years and older: The patient will apply a thin layer once a day to the affected areas of the skin, either before bed or in the evening.
  • Children who are 12 years and younger: The usage and dosage of tazarotene for children is decided by the prescribing doctor.

Topical dosage form (gel):

For acne:

  • Children and adults 12 years and older: The patient will apply a thin layer once a day to the affected areas of the skin, either before bed or in the evening.
  • Children that are 12 years and younger: The usage and dosage of tazarotene for children is decided by the prescribing doctor.

For psoriasis:

  • Adults and children 12 years and older: The patient will apply a thin layer once a day to the affected areas of the skin, either before bed or in the evening.
  • Children that are 12 years and younger: Use and dosage of tazarotene for children is decided by the prescribing doctor.

If a patient misses a dose, then they should apply it immediately. If they are nearing the time for the next application then the patient must skip the dose and return to their regular schedule of dosing.

Application:

It is key that patients only use tazarotene as directed. They cannot use an excessive amount and not beyond the allocated time by the doctor. If a patient does this, then their skin could become irritated. They would need treatment for an extended period of time as directed before they see a noticeable difference in their skin.

Tazarotene can only be used on the skin, it cannot be used for cuts, bites or scratches. If the eyes, nose, mouth or vagina are accidentally touched, then it must be rinsed off straight away.

Using the foam:

The patient must ensure they wash their hands in soapy water before use. Before application, the patient must wash the area of skin that is affected with a mild cleanser and water. They must then rinse and ensure they pat rather then rub dry. Waiting time before application is between 20 and 30 minutes.

They must take a small amount of the tazarotene and apply to the affected area and rub it in gently. They must avoid covering the area with a bandage. If they are using the foam treatment, the patient should be dispensing a small amount onto the palm of their hand - applying enough to cover the affected areas of the upper body and face lightly. They must then rub the foam into the skin until it fades.

For the cream, the application is as follows:

Before bed the patient must wash their face using a mild soap, ensuring any makeup is removed before application. They must then rinse and pat the skin dry. The patient is to apply a small amount no larger than a pea to cover their face lightly, including their eyelids, if required. They must avoid touching their eyes with the cream. If accidental contact occurs they must rinse their eyes with water.

Hands must be washed before application. They cannot apply this medicine to wind burn, sunburn or an open wound.

Interactions:

As in all cases there are certain medicines that should not be used in unison. In some cases two medicines may have to be used at the same time even if there is the possibility of an interaction. In this situation, the doctor may need to adjust the dose or take any other necessary precautions.

The following medicines could interact with tazarotene:

  • Aczone (dapsone topical)
  • Adderall (amphetamine /dextroamphetamine)
  • Bupropion
  • Clindamycin topical
  • Clonazepam
  • Doxycycline
  • Fish Oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • Gabapentin
  • Levothyroxine
  • Melatonin
  • Minocycline
  • ProAir HFA (albuterol)
  • Singulair (montelukast)
  • Spironolactone
  • Trazodone
  • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
  • Wellbutrin XL (bupropion)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

In addition to this, the patient must make their doctor or healthcare professional aware if they are taking any other kind of prescription or non-prescription medicine.

With this medicine a patient may find the effectiveness changes dependent on their lifestyle - interactions could happen if they are eating a certain type of food. Using tobacco or alcohol may also cause an interaction, it is key that the patient asks their doctor or health care professional for advice on these concerns.

If a patient has other medical conditions, this may affect the use of tazarotene:

  • Eczema
  • Sunburn
  • Skin cancer

They must make their doctor aware, in the case of skin cancer, as using tazarotene may make this condition worse.

Warnings:

With the use of tazarotene, the doctor must weigh the risks of taking the medicine against its effectiveness in managing the health condition. The doctor would have to take into account the following warnings.

The patient must make their doctor aware if they have ever experienced any unusual or allergic reactions to this type of medicine or other medicines. If the patient has had any reactions to dyes, food, animals or preservatives, then they must make a health care professional aware. It is key that the patient ensures they read the label carefully.

Pediatric

For children 12 years of age and younger, studies haven't been completed on the effects of tazarotene in foam or gel forms, or for the topical cream for children younger than 17 years. This means that the safety and efficacy has not been established for these age groups.

Geriatric

Studies performed have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit tazarotene’s usefulness on the elderly. For the tazarotene topical, there haven’t been the key studies performed to establish safety and efficacy on the geriatric population.

Breastfeeding

In terms of determining infant risk, no key studies have been performed on women while breastfeeding. If a patient is breastfeeding, then the doctor must look at the benefits against the risks before prescribing this medication to the patient.

Throughout treatment the doctor should check the patient’s progress regularly. This allows the doctor to see if the medicine is having the desired effect and reducing the effects of the medical condition, and from this they can then decide whether to allow the patient to continue use.

If a patient is pregnant, then using tazarotene can harm the unborn baby. A patient must use contraception to prevent pregnancy. If a patient thinks they may have fallen pregnant throughout treatment then they must seek medical advice from their doctor immediately.

When a patient uses tazarotene to treat facial acne, they may find their condition worsens at first, but it will begin to get better in approximately four weeks. They must check with their doctor if the condition shows no improvement within a 8 to 12 week period.

For treatment of psoriasis, the affected patches on the skin should improve in a 1 to 4 week period, but the redness of the skin does take longer to reduce. Again a patient must check with their doctor if their condition actually becomes worse.

Patients must avoid exposing skin to cold weather, wind and sunlight, taking particular note that on a cloudy day it can still be affected by the UV rays. The skin during this process becomes more susceptible to dryness, irritation and sunburn. Patients must absolutely avoid tanning beds and sunlamps. If they are outside, patients are advised to use sunblock or sunscreen with at least factor 15 regularly. Hats and other protective clothing, worn between 10 am and 3 pm, in direct sunlight will prevent these issues.

Using tazarotene can cause reactions on the skin such as redness, dryness, burning, scaling or stinging. Health care professionals have advised patients to use moisturizers that reduce these issues.

If a patient experiences skin irritation with using tazarotene, then they can continue use, however if the skin becomes puffy, too red or dry they should stop treatment and consult with a doctor or health care professional.

Unless advised by a doctor, patients are advised to avoid the following skin care products:

  • Topical acne or a skin product that contains a peeling agent.
  • Hair products.
  • Skin products that may be responsible for sensitivity to the sun.
  • Skin products that contain alcohol in a large quantity.
  • Skin products.

Doctors have often advised patients to take supplements that contain Vitamin A orally while completing a treatment of tazarotene to try and manage their condition.

As always patients can consult with their doctor on managing their condition or any other queries or concerns they may have.

Storage:

Patients must store tazarotene in a closed container ensuring it is at room temperature. They must make sure it is kept away from heat, moisture, and direct light. They must not freeze it and always make sure it is not in reach of children.

Summary:

For the treatment of acne on the face, Tazarotene comes in a gel or topical foam. The medicine when applied works by ensuring that the pores of the skin are clear. It has also been used to treat patients with the medical condition of psoriasis.

A retinoid, it has been used for patients who are on skin care programs as directed by their doctor or health care professional.

Side effects are possible with Tazarotene and patients have reported experiencing itching, redness, pain or swelling of the areas they have treated and sensation of burning after application.

For side effects, doctors must weigh up potential risks when determining its effectiveness and consult with the patient as to ways in which they can reduce or manage side effects.

For applying tazarotene, patients must apply exactly as described on the label or as directed by their doctor. A doctor or health care professional can discuss with the patient as to the methods of application, storage and number of times a dosage is required during treatment.

There are different interactions that occur during the use of tazarotene and patients must always make their doctor or health care professional aware of any current drugs they are taking and ensure they include any non-prescription drugs they have taken. It is vital they also discuss any consumption of food and alcohol so that the doctor can make an informed decision as to prescription and application.

As with all medicines, a doctor or health care professional would need to discuss the patient’s condition in detail with them before deciding to prescribe tazarotene. As a medicine that is applied to the skin, it is vital that patients have an understanding of the dangers of mixing this medicine with any skin care products they are currently using and the placement of tazarotene within their skin care regime.

The skin is always at the mercy of UV rays, using tazarotene does affect this and lowers the defences of the skin against the sun. In this situation the doctor and health care professional must discuss and outline in detail the different precautions they can take.

Tazarotene is an effective medicine for treatment of these conditions and the patient should discuss the benefits of this with their doctor before treatment.

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Last Reviewed:
December 23, 2017
Last Updated:
December 22, 2017
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