Acitretin is distributed through the blood stream in the body and it is linked to plasma proteins. When it reaches the "target" cells (epidermal cells with altered keratinization and inflammatory elements), it is able to bind to a specific receptor by reprogramming the gene expression of the cell itself. Depending on the cell type, it reduces the proliferation rate or modifies the expression of the inflammatory mediators.


What is Acitretin?

Acitretin is a drug that is used to treat dyskeratosis (abnormal keratinization of epidermal cells), severe psoriasis (including forms characterized by arthropathy), palmoplantar hyperkeratosis and ichthyosis. It reduces the formation of skin flakes and the redness and thickening of the lesions associated with the disease.


How should Acitretin be taken?

This drug is usually administered orally in the form of capsules, but it can also be administered by injections.


Side effects associated with Acitretin

There are several side effects that can occur with the intake of this drug, the severity of which generally depend on the dosage and duration of the treatment. In particular, it may trigger:

  • Dermatological disorders: dry mucous membranes, inflammation of the eyes and mouth, respiratory inflammation and dermatological disorders of various kinds;
  • Muscle disorders and joint disorders: arthralgia, myalgia;
  • Neurological disorders: headaches;
  • Hematologic diseases: alteration of some blood chemistry parameters, such as transaminase;
  • Vascular disorders: edema


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Acitretin

Acitretin has a high teratogen level (i.e. it is able to determine abnormal fetal development) and it has the ability to accumulate in relevant amounts in breast milk. The use of this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding is contraindicated. More specifically, in regards to pregnancy, it is preferable that the patient in therapy undergo a pregnancy prevention program useful to limit the risks associated with the drug. The use of this active ingredient is also contraindicated in patients with liver and kidney disease as well as in patients with glucose and lipid metabolism abnormalities.