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Soriatane (acitretin) for Psoriasis: Side Effects & Dosage

What is Soriatane (acitretin)?

Acitretin is an oral medication used to treat psoriasis.

What are the uses for Soriatane (acitretin)?

  • Acitretin is used for treating
    severe psoriasis in adults.
  • Acitretin
    should be prescribed only by doctors who have experience in the systemic use of
    retinoids because it has serious side effects.

Is Soriatane (acitretin) available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for Soriatane (acitretin)?


What is the black box warning for Soriatane (acitretin)?

  • Acitretin is harmful to the fetus. It must not be used while pregnant, or by
    women who intend to be pregnant during therapy or within 3 years following
    discontinuation of therapy. It should also not be used by women who do not use
    reliable contraception. Patients must use 2 effective forms of contraception
    (birth control) simultaneously for at least 1 month prior to starting acitretin
    therapy, during therapy, and for at least 3 years after stopping treatment.
  • Alcohol increases conversion of acitretin to
    (Tegison), which remains in the
    body much longer and is also harmful to the fetus. Therefore, women should not
    consume alcohol during treatment with acitretin and for 2 months after stopping
  • Acitretin may cause
    liver damage. Acitretin should be discontinued if liver
    damage is suspected during treatment.

What are the side effects of Soriatane (acitretin)?

Common side effects of Soriatane include:

Other side effects of Soriatane include:

  • Increased levels of liver enzymes
  • Changes in phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium levels
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rash
  • Increased sun sensitivity

Other less common side effects of Soriatane include:

Since acitretin can cause liver damage, liver function tests should be
performed before treatment at 1- to 2-week intervals until stable, and
thereafter at intervals as clinically needed

What is the dosage for Soriatane (acitretin)?

  • The recommended dose for acitretin is 25 to 50 mg daily given as a single dose with the
    main meal.

Is Soriatane (acitretin) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

  • Acitretin is harmful to the fetus, and it must not be used during pregnancy.
    Women must use 2 effective forms of contraception (birth control) simultaneously
    for at least 1 month prior to starting acitretin therapy, during therapy, and
    for at least 3 years after stopping treatment. Major human fetal abnormalities associated with acitretin and/or etretinate include:

    • Meningomyelocele
    • Meningoencephalocele
    • Multiple synostoses
    • Facial dysmorphia
    • Syndactyly
    • Absence of terminal phalanges
    • Malformations of hip, ankle, and forearm
    • Low-set ears
    • High palate
    • Decreased cranial volume
    • Cardiovascular malformation
    • And alterations of the skull and cervical vertebrae
  • Acitretin should not be used by women who are breastfeeding because acitretin
    can pass into breast milk and harm the infant.

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Which drugs or supplements interact with Soriatane (acitretin)?

  • Combining acitretin with alcohol increases the formation
    of etretinate. Etretinate remains in the body for a longer period than acitretin
    and it is very harmful to a fetus.
  • Acitretin may increase the effects of glyburide (Micronase) on blood glucose
    and potentially cause hypoglycemia.
  • Acitretin reduces the effect of the microdose progestin minipill. The two
    drugs should not be combined.
  • Acitretin should not be combined with methotrexate
    Trexall) due to the increased risk
    of liver failure.
  • Combining tetracycline with acitretin increases intracranial pressure.
  • Taking

    vitamin A supplements may increase side effects of acitretin because
    acitretin and vitamin A have similar chemical structures.

  • If phototherapy also is being used as treatment, the doses of phototherapy
    should be reduced to avoid excessive burning of the skin.


Psoriasis causes the top layer of skin cells to become inflamed and grow too quickly and flake off.
See Answer

What else should I know about Soriatane (acitretin)?

What preparations of Soriatane (acitretin) are available?
  • Capsule: 10 and 25 mg
How should I keep Soriatane (acitretin) stored?
  • Acitretin should be stored between 15 C and 25 C (59 C and 77 F) and
    protected from light.
  • Exposure to high temperatures and humidity should be
    avoided after the bottle is opened.
How does Soriatane (acitretin) work?
  • The mechanism of
    action of acitretin is unknown. It is chemically related to retinoic acid and
    retinol (vitamin A), and it reduces skin cell production and shedding. It takes
    several weeks to see its effects, up to 6 months to see a full response, and
    psoriasis may worsen before improvement is seen.
When was Soriatane (acitretin) approved by the FDA?
  • The FDA approved acitretin in October 1996.

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