Keep your regular appointments with your doctor so your progress can be monitored.
Swallow the capsules whole without chewing them. Take them with, or soon after, a meal.
If you are a woman it is very important that you do not become pregnant while you are taking tretinoin. Ask your doctor about suitable contraception.
About tretinoin capsules
|Type of medicine||Retinoid|
|Used for||Acute promyelocytic leukaemia|
Tretinoin is an anti-cancer medicine used to treat a type of leukaemia called acute promyelocytic leukaemia. This is a cancer where the bone marrow makes large numbers of abnormal white blood cells. White blood cells usually help the body to fight infection but in leukaemia the development of these white blood cells goes wrong.
Tretinoin is a medicine which is similar to vitamin A. It works by slowing the growth of the abnormal blood cells responsible for the cancer. It will be prescribed for you by a specialist doctor.
Before taking tretinoin capsules
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking tretinoin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines. It is particularly important that your doctor should know if you are taking any antibiotics or vitamins.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any medicine. You should also tell your doctor if you are allergic to peanuts or soya.
How to take tretinoin capsules
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about tretinoin capsules and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
- Take tretinoin exactly as your doctor tells you to. You will be asked to take two doses a day. Your doctor will tell you how many capsules to take for each dose. This information will also be on the label of the bottle to remind you. Try to take your doses at the same times each day, as this will help you to remember to take them.
- Swallow the capsules with a drink of water during a meal (or soon afterwards). Swallow the capsules whole - do not chew them.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose. If you do miss a dose, make sure you tell your doctor about it.
- A course of treatment may last up to three months.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Keep your regular appointments with your doctor, as you will need to have regular blood tests so your progress can be checked. These capsules are only one of a number of treatments which you are likely to require.
- If you are a woman it is important that you do not get pregnant while taking tretinoin. This also applies for a time after your treatment has ended. Some oral contraceptives are not suitable with tretinoin so it is important that you ask your doctor for advice before starting these capsules. You will also be advised to take a pregnancy test every month.
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with tretinoin. This includes any preparations which may contain vitamins, as you must not take vitamin A while you are on tretinoin.
Can tretinoin 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 if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common tretinoin side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling dizzy||Getting up slowly should help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few moments before standing. Do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Headache||Ask your doctor to recommend a suitable painkiller|
|Feeling or being sick, abdominal pain||Stick to simple foods|
|Diarrhoea||Drink plenty of water|
|Constipation||Drink plenty of water and try to eat a well-balanced diet|
|Reduced appetite, confusion, anxiety, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, tingling feelings, difficulty hearing or seeing, flushing, dry mouth or skin, difficulty breathing, skin rash, loss of hair, increased sweating, pains, and generally feeling unwell||If any become troublesome, discuss them with your doctor|
Important: your doctor will have discussed with you the possibility of unwanted side-effects that you must let your doctor know about straightaway. If you develop a high temperature or feel breathless, together with chest pain or abdominal pain and a cough, speak with your doctor or hospital clinic immediately.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store tretinoin capsules
- 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
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Vesanoid® 10 mg soft capsules; Roche Products Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2012.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 02/01/2013||Document ID: 3748 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.