bexarotene topical (generic name)

It is used to treat skin lesions in patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
(bexs AIR oh teen)
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What is this medicine?

BEXAROTENE (bexs AIR oh teen) is used to treat skin lesions in patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. This medicine should only be used in patients who have not responded to or could not tolerate other therapies.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to bexarotene, vitamin A, other vitamin A analogs or retinoids, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • you or your partner is pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for application to lesions only. Do not apply the gel on or near your eyes, nose, mouth, lips, vagina, tip of penis, rectum, or anus. Wash your hands before and after applying the gel. Follow the instructions on the prescription label. Place a generous coating of gel over the entire surface of each lesion. You should not apply the gel to the healthy skin around the lesion. Proper application should leave some gel visible on the surface of the lesion. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for the gel to dry before covering the treated areas with clothing. If you apply this medicine after your shower or bath, you should wait 20 minutes before applying the gel. You should avoid bathing, showering, or swimming for at least 3 hours after applying this medicine.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • gemfibrozil
  • other medicines known as retinoids like acitretin, adapalene, isotretinoin, and tretinoin
  • vitamins and other supplements containing vitamin A

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures
  • birth control pills
  • cimetidine
  • erythromycin
  • grapefruit and grapefruit juice
  • insulin and other medicines to treat diabetes
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • phenytoin
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • some medicines to treat HIV infection or AIDS
  • tamoxifen

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need to have regular blood checks. Some patients with cutaneous T cell lymphoma saw improvement within the first several weeks of treatment. Most patients required several months or more of treatment to improve.

If you are capable of becoming pregnant, you must have a pregnancy test within one week before you start therapy and monthly while you are taking this medicine to confirm you are not pregnant. This medicine may harm your unborn baby. You should contact your doctor or health care professional immediately if you believe or suspect you are pregnant while you are taking this medicine or if you have taken this medicine within the past month. You must use effective birth control continuously starting one month prior to beginning this medicine and until one month after you stop taking it. It is recommended that you use 2 reliable forms of birth control together. Because this drug may decrease the effect of hormonal birth control, one of the forms of birth control should be non-hormonal.

If you are a male patient and your partner is pregnant or capable of becoming pregnant, you should use a condom during sexual intercourse while taking this medicine and for at least one month after the last dose.

Avoid eating large amounts of grapefruit or drinking large amounts of grapefruit juice while taking this medicine. Grapefruit may increase the levels of this medicine in your body and may cause an increase in side effects.

This medicine is a form of vitamin A and too much vitamin A can cause many side effects. Do not take more that the recommended daily dietary allowance of vitamin A (4000 to 5000 international units). If you take vitamins, check the label to see how much vitamin A they contain. If you are not sure, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.

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Last Updated: March 18, 2009
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