Acitretin or Soriatane is used in the treatment of severe psoriasis and disorders of keratin formation.
Acitretin or Soriatane is a retinoid - vitamin A - analog which modulates or changes the cellular differentiation of the epidermis. These modulations re establish a more normal growth of cells. Acitretin or Soriatane is an active metabolite of etretinate (Tegison), another drug that is used in skin disorders. The difference is that Acitretin or Soriatane is metabolised faster and thus gone from the body faster - 2 months compared to 2 years for etretinate.
Acitretin or Soriatane can cause skin peeling and scaling, hair loss, itching, dry skin, dry mouth, headache, tiredness, impotency, and bleeding gums. Because sun light is able to increase the severity of the skin side effects, sun screen is needed.
Acitretin or Soriatane can cause severe birth defects, and there is even some proof that the effect may extend to men who father children.
Women who may be pregnant should avoid Acitretin or Soriatane, and women, and perhaps men, who are of child bearing age should use contraception.
Acitretin or Soriatane is able to increase the side effects of any other drugs that may involve the skin, headache, dry mouth, and tiredness.
Alcohol converts Acitretin or Soriatane to etretinate which remains in the body longer. It is recommended to not drink alcohol while taking Acitretin or Soriatane or for two months after.
B J Clin Pharmcol 1994;38:229
FDC Reports 1994;Feb 21:11
The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.