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Side Effects of Acitretin

Hair loss, chapped lips, and high cholesterol are some of the most common problems reported with acitretin. Side effects of this medication tend to be minor and are generally easy to treat. However, there are also some side effects that are potentially serious, including vision changes, chest pain, or signs of depression.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Acitretin

As with any medicine, acitretin (Soriatane®) can cause side effects. While some of the side effects of acitretin can be quite bothersome, many people feel that the benefit of the medication outweighs the potential side effects. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. However, very serious side effects are possible.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with acitretin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Serious Acitretin Side Effects

Some side effects with acitretin are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:


    • Sad mood
    • Hopelessness
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
    • Loss of pleasure or interest in activities
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Changes in sleep pattern
    • Changes in weight or appetite
    • Suicidal thoughts or attempts




  • Signs of liver damage, such as yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice), upper-right abdominal pain, or high liver enzymes
  • Ringing of the ears (tinnitus) or hearing loss
  • Signs of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), such as:



  • Signs of bone or muscle problems, such as:


    • Muscle or bone aches
    • Stiffness or difficulty moving
    • Loss of feeling in the hands or feet


  • Signs of high blood sugar, such as increased urination, thirst, and hunger
  • Shortness of breath, chest pain, or other heart attack symptoms
  • Signs of a stroke, such as vision or speech changes, weakness or numbness in an arm or leg, and a severe headache
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:


    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling (especially of the lips, mouth, or throat)
    • Wheezing or other breathing problems.


Notably, acitretin can also cause severe birth defects (see Soriatane and Pregnancy).

Acitretin Drug Information

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