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Understanding How Acitretin Works and Safety Concerns

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking It?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking this medication if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Acitretin to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)

How Does Acitretin Work?

Acitretin is a retinoid, which means that it is similar to vitamin A. It is not entirely clear how acitretin works to treat severe psoriasis.

When and How to Take It

Some general considerations include the following:
  • Acitretin comes in capsule form. It is usually taken by mouth once daily with the main meal of the day.


  • It is important to take your dosage with food, as food improves the absorption of this medication.


  • Women must completely avoid drinking all alcohol (even small amounts of alcohol in cough syrups) while taking acitretin and for two months after stopping acitretin. Alcohol changes the way the body metabolizes and stores this medication, making the medication stay in the body for an extremely long time (for more than three years). This restriction is mostly for women, due to the risk of birth defects.


  • There are strict rules for taking acitretin. Women of childbearing potential must use two effective forms of birth control and must have frequent pregnancy tests. Women who take acitretin must not get pregnant for three years after stopping the medication.


  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.

Acitretin Drug Information

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