|Type of medicine||A retinoid (similar to vitamin A)|
|Used for||Small areas of plaque psoriasis in adults|
Tazarotene is a gel which is applied to the skin to treat plaque psoriasis. When you have psoriasis, patches of red, scaly skin develop (called plaques) which tend to come and go throughout life. Treatment for psoriasis aims to clear the plaques as much as possible.
The skin cells in the outer layer of your skin multiply faster than normal in the patches of psoriasis. This causes older and dead skin cells to build up on the surface of your skin causing the red, scaly patches. Tazarotene works by slowing the over-production of your skin cells which eases the inflamed, scaly areas.
Before using tazarotene
To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you start using tazarotene it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to use tazarotene
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about applying the gel, and a full list of possible side-effects from using it.
- Tazarotene gel is available in two strengths. Your doctor will probably prescribe the lower-strength gel for you at first to see how your skin reacts, and then may increase the strength if this is necessary. This allows your doctor to make sure that you have the strength that helps your condition but also reduces the risk of skin irritation.
- Apply a thin layer of gel to the areas of your skin which are affected before going to bed each night. Remember to wash your hands straightaway afterwards to make sure you don't get the gel into your eyes or on any healthy areas of your skin by accident.
- Do not use the gel on more than 10% of your body area (this is roughly equivalent to the total skin area of one arm). Also, do not use the gel on your face, hairline, scalp, armpits, or behind your elbows and knees.
- It is likely that your doctor will suggest a course of treatment of up to three months. Follow the instructions you are given carefully, and continue to apply the gel regularly for as long as you have been recommended in order to get the full benefit.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- If your skin becomes very dry or irritated, it may help to use a moisturiser but do this at least one hour before using tazarotene. Do not use any moisturisers or cosmetics for at least one hour after using tazarotene gel.
- If you are a woman, it is important not to become pregnant while you are using tazarotene. Make sure you have discussed with your doctor which types of contraception are recommended for you, as some hormonal contraceptives (such as the 'mini pill') are not suitable.
- Your skin may become more sensitive to sunlight while you are being treated with tazarotene. Do not use sunbeds or UV light treatments. Avoid the sun until you know how your skin reacts and, if necessary, use a suncream with a high sun protection factor (SPF of at least 15).
- Do not cover any areas of skin that have been treated with a dressing or bandage.
Can tazarotene cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common tazarotene side-effects - these affect up to 1 in 3 people who use this gel
||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Skin irritation, itching, redness, a burning sensation, peeling, rash or worsening of your condition||Try applying a thinner layer of gel and make sure you avoid getting the gel on any healthy areas of your skin. If this continues, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this gel, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store tazarotene
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 63rd Edition (Mar 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zorac®; Allergan Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated May 2009.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Hannah Gronow|
|Last Checked: 26/09/2012||Document ID: 3688 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.