Tretinoin - oral

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Tretinoin is used together with other medicines to treat a type of blood problem known as acute promyelocytic leukemia. This medicine works by slowing the growth of certain types of diseased blood cells.
How do I take this medicine?
Take Tretinoin exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.

Take it together with food or immediately after a meal. Try to take it at the same time each day.

Swallow the capsule whole with a glass of water. Do not chew, break or crush the capsule.

The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the treatment timeframe depending on your response to the medication.

Tretinoin must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
What should I do if I have forgotten to take this medicine?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.

DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.

If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
When should I not use this medicine?
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant. If you become pregnant while on Tretinoin therapy, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child.

It is important that you do not get pregnant while taking this medicine. You must use proven birth control methods during Tretinoin therapy and for 1 month after stopping the treatment. Birth control medicines containing hormones may not be effective. You may wish to discuss other reliable methods of birth control with your doctor.

Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.

Do not take Tretinoin with other medicines classified as retinoids, vitamin A supplements and medicines used to reduce bleeding. Please see the section “Can I take this with other medicines?” below for more information.
What should I take note of while taking this medicine?
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • history of depression
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Tretinoin to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.

Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?

Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
  • Pregnancy tests must be done before and every month during your treatment to know if this medicine is suited for you to take.
  • You may need to have routine blood tests (e.g. complete blood count, liver function tests, blood cholesterol levels) while you are being treated with this medicine.
  • Regular monitoring of your heart and lung status, and for signs of depression may also be needed.
Your doctor will advise you on how often you will need to have these tests.
What side effects could I experience?
Tretinoin may cause dizziness and severe headache. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.

Other side effects may include any of the following: hair loss, headache, visual disturbances, nasal dryness, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhoea, constipation, loss of appetite, confusion, irregular or abnormal heartbeat, difficulty sleeping and bone pain.

Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
  • fever with chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, weight gain, swelling in the leg
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • dark lumpy marks in the neck or face with fever
  • sudden chest pain that may radiate to the arm or neck
  • severe headache with double vision, dizziness, and ringing in the ears
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Can I take this with other medicines?
Do not take Tretinoin with the following medicines:
  • vitamin A supplements
  • other retinoids
  • medicines used to reduce bleeding e.g. tranexamic acid, aminocaproic acid, aprotinin
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
  • medicines for chest pain e.g. diltiazem, verapamil
  • antibiotics e.g. erythromycin
  • medicine for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenobarbital
  • rifampicin (medicine to treat TB or tuberculosis)
  • ketoconazole (medicine to treat fungal infection)
  • cimetidine (medicine that reduces stomach acid production)
  • ciclosporin (medicine used in organ transplant or certain immune disorders)
  • birth control pills containing progesterone
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Tretinoin.

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.

Avoid taking foods that are rich in vitamin A such as cod liver oil and halibut fish oil.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children. Protect from light and moisture.

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.

As this is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired capsules to the clinic, hospital, or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on tretinoin - oral and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2021 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by
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