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Generic Name: bexarotene

It is used to treat the skin manifestations of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
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What is this medicine?

BEXAROTENE (bexs AIR oh teen) is used to treat the skin manifestations of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. This medicine should only be used in patients who have not responded to at least one other treatment.

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

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • cataracts
  • diabetes
  • gall bladder disease
  • high cholesterol or triglycerides
  • history of pancreatitis
  • If you frequently drink alcohol containing beverages
  • liver disease
  • thyroid disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to bexarotene, vitamin A, other vitamin A analogs (i.e., 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?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the capsules whole. Do not chew or allow them to dissolve before swallowing. Take all of your dose at one time with or immediately after a meal. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

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, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take 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
  • 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.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. 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. Women 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. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Men, with a partner who is pregnant or who is capable of becoming pregnant, use a condom during sexual activity while taking this medicine and for 1 month after stopping this medicine.

This medicine can greatly increase blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Your health care professional will monitor these levels and, if they increase, you may require treatment.

This medicine can cause an underactive thyroid and regular blood checks will be needed to detect this. Medicines to control this condition may be necessary.

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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All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
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