Bexarotene review

Bexarotene is an anticancer drug which is specifically created for treatment of cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) – a type of skin cancer. It works specifically by inhibiting the rampant growth of cells inside neoplasms, preventing them from growing out of control and turning into full tumors. Bexarotene binds to the DNA of these cells and interferes with their development and reproduction.

It has also been used in the treatment of other cancers such as Kaposi’s sarcoma, breast cancer and lung cancer.

Available in the brand name Targretin, it comes in both 75 mg soft capsule oral preparations and as a 1% bexarotene topical gel.

Bexarotene is prescribed to patients who are suffering from CTCL, especially to those who have shown little progress with at least one other medication or therapy. The topical gel in particular is given to relieve the red, itchy skin lesions experienced by CTCL patients. The oral capsules are also used to treat CTCL, but can also be used to treat some other cancers, such as those affecting the blood cells and lymph nodes.

Whether you are taking the oral capsules or applying the topical gel formulation, it is always important to read the instructions supplied with the medication and to follow specific instructions laid out by your doctor.

The topical preparation of bexarotene is usually initially applied only once every other day. The doctor can then gradually adjust your dosage depending on your progress, but usually not more than once every week. Dosage may be increased and the gel applied more frequently – as much as two to four times in a day. The doctor may also opt to lower your dosage when you experience side effects. Improvements of your condition may be apparently as soon as 4 weeks but it may also take months before any real improvement can be observed. Do not discontinue use of bexarotene without consulting your doctor.

As bexarotene gel may catch fire, avoid applying the topical medication while smoking or near sources of heat. The gel is strictly for external use only – do not ingest the topical gel and keep it away from sensitive areas such as your eyes, nostrils, lips and mouth, and the anal and genital area.

Bathing and swimming is allowed even when applying topical bexarotene, but take care to use only mild soaps and wait at least 20 minutes after taking a bath of swimming before applying the medication. After application, do not swim, shower or bathe until after 3 hours.

You may bathe, shower, or swim during your treatment with topical bexarotene, but you should use only a mild, non-deodorant soap. You should wait at least 20 minutes after bathing or showering before applying topical bexarotene. After you apply the medication, do not bathe, swim, or shower for at least 3 hours.

When applying the gel, make sure both your hands and the affected area is clean. Avoid getting the gel onto healthy skin and do not rub the gel into the skin. Instead, leave a thin layer on top of the affected area. Avoid wrapping the affected area in tight bandage or clothing after applying the medicine. Wipe your hands clean and wash with soap and water.

For the oral preparation of bexarotene, the doctor will give specific dosage information for you depending on your medical history and your condition. Follow all instructions very carefully and consult your doctor if you plan on making changes.

Swallow all capsules in the prescribed dose together, and take care not to break or chew on them. If a capsule is found to be broken, do not touch with your hands and do not attempt to take them anyway. Continue treatment even if you do not see immediate results, unless the doctor instructs you to stop.

When taking bexarotene orally, some side effects that may be experienced include headache, fatigue, dryness of skin, weakness, nausea, diarrhea, or some rashes and swelling. Doctors may also monitor your blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels as some patients experience a rise of these substances in their blood while on bexarotene.

A more serious reaction involving bexarotene that needs medical attention is pacreatitis, and its symptoms include persistent nausea and vomiting, as well as both abdominal or back pain.

The topical preparation may cause skin irritation in certain patients, and patients can suffer allergic reactions from both.

Bexarotene is found to be potentially harmful for developing fetuses and have been shown to cause birth defects in rats. If you are planning to have sexual intercourse, use multiple contraceptives involving chemical and barrier methods to prevent conception. Even males who are on bexarotene must wear condoms and use other barrier methods until at least one month from the last dose taken.

Bexarotene has the following structural formula:

Chemical structure of bexarotene

• Molecular formula of bexarotene is C24H28O2
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 4-[1-(3,5,5,8,8-pentamethyltetralin-2-yl)ethenyl]benzoic acid
• Molecular weight is 348.478 g/mol
Bexarotene available : 75mg capsules

Brand name(s): Targret, Targretin, Targretyn, Targrexin

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