Bexarotene is used to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL, a type of skin cancer) in people whose disease could not be treated successfully with at least one other medication. Bexarotene is in a class of medications called retinoids. It works by stopping the growth of cancer cells.
Side Effects Of Bexarotene Topical And Bexarotene
Bexarotene may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- increased sensitivity to cold
- increase in weight
- joint or muscle pain
- thin, brittle hair or fingernails
- dry skin
- redness, scaling, or itching of the skin
- hair loss
- swelling of ankles, feet, and legs
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- sudden or ongoing back or stomach pain
- severe and ongoing nausea and vomiting
- fever, sore throat, chills, or other signs of infection
- changes in vision
- Bexarotene may increase the levels of cholesterol and other fats in your blood and may stop your thyroid gland from working normally. Your doctor will monitor you carefully to see whether you are experiencing either of these side effects. If you experience either of these side effects, your doctor may prescribe another medication to control the side effect while you are taking bexarotene.
Bexarotene may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Warnings & Precautions
Before taking bexarotene:
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to bexarotene; or any other retinoid, such as acitretin (Soriatane), etretinate (Tegison), isotretinoin (Accutane), or tretinoin (Vesanoid); or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: amiodarone (Cordarone); certain antifungals such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) and itraconazole (Sporanox); cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin); diltiazem (Cardizem); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); fluvoxamine; gemfibrozil (Lopid), HIV protease inhibitors such as indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), and ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra); insulin and oral medications for diabetes; nefazodone; phenobarbital; phenytoin (Dilantin); rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); tamoxifen (Nolvadex); verapamil (Calan); and vitamin A. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with bexarotene, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had pancreatitis; high levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood; diabetes; cataracts; or gall bladder, thyroid, kidney, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking bexarotene. Alcohol can make the side effects from bexarotene worse.
- plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to sunlight and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Bexarotene may make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
Dosage Of Bexarotene Topical And Bexarotene
Bexarotene comes as a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with food. Take bexarotene at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take bexarotene exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the capsules whole; do not chew the capsules or dissolve them in liquid or in your mouth. If you are unable to swallow the capsules whole, talk to your doctor.
Bexarotene may be harmful if it gets on the skin. Do not touch the capsules or powder from the capsules if they are broken or leaking. If the powder from a broken capsule gets on your skin, wash the area with soap and water immediately and call your doctor.
Your doctor will start you on an average dose of bexarotene and may decrease your dose if you experience side effects or increase your dose if your condition does not improve.
It may take several months or longer before you notice the full benefit of bexarotene. Do not stop taking bexarotene without talking to your doctor.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body’s response to bexarotene.
Before having any laboratory test, tell your doctor and the laboratory personnel that you are taking bexarotene.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.