Bexarotene (Systemic)

Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Targretin

Warning

  • Do not take if you are pregnant. Use during pregnancy may cause birth defects or loss of the unborn baby. If you get pregnant or plan on getting pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat a type of lymphoma.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to bexarotene or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you are taking gemfibrozil.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
  • This drug may cause high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Talk with the doctor.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug may affect certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab workers know you take this drug.
  • Talk with your doctor before you take products that have vitamin A in them.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
  • You may get sunburned more easily. Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects you from the sun.
  • If the capsule is opened or broken, do not touch the contents. If you do touch the contents or get it in your eyes, wash the area right away and call your doctor.
  • This drug may make cataracts worse or may raise the chance of new cataracts. Talk with the doctor.
  • If you are a man and have sex with a woman who is pregnant, may be pregnant, or can get pregnant, always use a condom during sex. Use a condom during treatment and for at least 1 month after treatment ends.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking this drug.
  • Use of this drug during pregnancy may cause birth defects or death of the unborn baby. You will need to have a pregnancy test to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting this drug. Talk with the doctor.
  • A pregnancy test will be done every month during care.
  • Use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust 1 month before care begins, during care, and for at least 1 month after care ends.
  • If you get pregnant while taking this drug or within 1 month after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of low thyroid levels like hard stools (constipation); not able to handle cold; memory problems; mood changes; or a burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Change in eyesight.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly pancreas problems (pancreatitis) have happened with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Headache.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Not hungry.
  • Belly pain.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Hair loss.
  • Dry skin.
  • Back pain.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • Take as you have been told, even if you feel well.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • Take this drug at the same time of day.
  • Take with a meal.
  • Swallow capsule whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from heat.
  • Protect from light.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date

2015-08-13

Copyright

© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Clinical Drug Information, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk with a member of your healthcare team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at ____________________. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call____________________. If there’s no number listed, or you’re not sure, call 212-639-2000.
Bexarotene (Systemic)
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on September 5, 2015