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Generic Name:

tazarotene, Topical cream

All Brands

  • Tazorac
SECTION 1 of 4

Highlights for tazarotene

Topical cream
1

Tazarotene is used to treat psoriasis (scaly, itchy, and dry patches of skin), acne, and skin wrinkling and age spots on your face.

2

This drug comes in the form of a cream, gel, and foam you apply to your skin.

3

Tazarotene is available as the brand-name drugs Tazorac, Fabior, and Avage. It isn’t available as a generic drug.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include dry skin, itching, redness, and burning of your skin.

5

This drug can harm an unborn baby. If you can become pregnant, use a reliable form of birth control while taking this drug. If you do get pregnant, stop using this drug and call your doctor right away.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Harm to an unborn baby

This drug can harm your unborn baby. If you’re able to get pregnant, you should start this drug during a normal menstrual period. Also, you must take a pregnancy test within 2 weeks before starting this drug, and it must be negative. You must use an effective method of birth control while you’re taking this medication. If you get pregnant, stop using this drug and call your doctor right away.

Skin irritation

This drug may cause itching, burning, redness, and peeling of your skin. Wind or cold weather may also irritate your skin more while you’re using this drug. Tell your doctor if you have any skin irritation. You shouldn’t use this drug on skin that has eczema because it may cause severe irritation.

Sensitivity to sunlight

This drug may make you more sensitive to sunlight. This may cause you to sunburn more easily. You should try to avoid sunlight and sunlamps. Wear sunscreen every day. Make sure you tell your doctor about all the drugs you’re taking. If you’re taking other medications that increase your sensitivity to the sun, ask your doctor whether this drug is safe for you.

Foam can catch on fire

The foam version of this drug is flammable (can catch on fire). You can burn your skin if you use the foam and then get too close to a flame. You shouldn’t smoke while you put on the foam or right after.

What is tazarotene?

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as a topical cream and topical gel,.

Tazorac is the brand name for the drug tazarotene. This drug isn’t available as a generic drug.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

This drug is used to treat psoriasis (scaly, itchy, and dry patches of skin), acne, and skin wrinkling and age spots on the face.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called retinoids. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

More Details

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SECTION 2 of 4

tazarotene Side Effects

Topical cream

More Common Side Effects

  • The more common side effects of tazarotene in people with plaque psoriasis include:

    • itching
    • redness
    • burning
  • People with acne or wrinkles may also have the following side effects:

    • skin peeling
    • dry skin
    • burning

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 4

tazarotene May Interact with Other Medications

Topical cream

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help prevent interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking.

To find out how tazarotene might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
eczema warning
People with eczema

If you have eczema, you shouldn’t use this drug on the areas of your skin that are affected by eczema. Doing so can cause very severe irritation to your skin.

skin cancer warning
People with skin cancer

This drug makes you more likely to sunburn. Sunburns can increase your risk of skin cancer. Tell your doctor if you or a family member has a history of skin cancer. Wear sunscreen and protective clothing every day to protect your skin from the sun.

pregnancy warning
Pregnant women

This drug is a category X pregnancy drug. That means two things:

Category X drugs should never be used during pregnancy.

Women of childbearing age should use reliable birth control while taking this drug.

breast feeding warning
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug passes into breast milk. If it does, it may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

childrens warning
For children

The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in people with psoriasis who are younger than 18 years.

The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in people with acne who are younger than 12 years.

transfer to others
Contact with drug

This drug can be transferred to other people if they touch your treated skin. Talk to your doctor about what you should do to prevent this from happening.

call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergy warning
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • Severe skin redness, peeling, burning, itching, or swelling. If this occurs near your mouth, nose, or throat, it might cause trouble breathing.

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

SECTION 4 of 4

How to Take tazarotene (Dosage)

Topical cream

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Acne

Brand: Tazorac

Form: Topical cream
Strengths: 0.05%, 0.1%
Form: Topical gel
Strengths: 0.05%, 0.1%

Brand: Fabior

Form: Topical foam
Strengths: 0.1%
Adult dosage (ages 18 years)

Tazorac cream and gel and Fabior foam:

  • Gently wash and dry your face before applying this drug.
  • Apply a thin layer of tazarotene to cover all of the affected areas of your skin. Apply it once each day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 12–17 years)

Tazarotene cream, gel, foam:

  • Gently wash and dry your face before applying this drug.
  • Apply a thin layer of tazarotene to cover all of the affected areas of your skin. Apply it once each day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 0–12 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 12 years.

Psoriasis

Brand: Tazorac

Form: Topical cream
Strengths: 0.05%, 0.1%
Form: Topical gel
Strengths: 0.05%, 0.1%
Adult dosage (ages 18 years)

Tazorac cream and gel:

  • Apply a thin layer of this drug to cover only your psoriasis lesions. Apply it once each day in the evening.
  • Your doctor will start you with the 0.05% strength of this drug. They may increase it to 0.1% if needed.
  • Make sure your skin is dry before you apply this drug.
  • You may use a cream or lotion to soften or moisturize your skin at least 1 hour before you apply tazarotene.
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years for this condition.

Wrinkling

Brand: Avage

Form: Topical cream
Strengths: 0.1%
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Avage:

  • Gently wash and dry your face before applying this drug.

Apply a pea-sized amount of this drug to cover your entire face. Apply it once each day in the evening.

Child dosage (ages 17 years)
  • Gently wash and dry your face before applying this drug.
  • Apply a pea-sized amount of this drug to cover your entire face. Apply it once each day in the evening.
Child dosage (ages 0–16 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective for use in people younger than 18 years for this condition.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Clinical Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy

This drug comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop using the drug suddenly or don’t use it at all

Your acne, psoriasis, or wrinkles may not improve or may get worse.

If you miss doses or don’t use the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely.

If you use too much

Symptoms of using too much of this drug can include:

  • noticeable redness
  • skin peeling
  • skin discomfort

If you think you’ve used too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Apply your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, apply only one dose. Never try to catch up by applying two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your psoriasis or acne should improve.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking this drug

Store this drug carefully

  • Keep this drug out of reach of children.
  • Keep it away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.
  • Tazorac
    • Store Tazorac topical cream at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). You can keep it between 23°F and 86°F (-5°C and 30°C) for short periods of time.
    • Store the Tazorac topical gel at 77°F (25°C). You can keep it between 59°F and 77°F (15°C and 30°C) for short periods of time.
  • Avage
    • Store Avage topical cream at 77°F (25°C). You can keep it between 59°F and 77°F (15°C and 30°C) for short periods of time.
  • Fabior
    • Store Fabior topical foam at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). You can keep it between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C) for short periods of time. Don’t expose it to heat or store it at temperatures above 120°F (49°C). Stay away from fire, flames, or smoking while you’re applying the drug and right after. Don’t puncture the can of foam. Its contents are under pressure and could explode. Protect the can from freezing.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

If you’re using this drug to treat psoriasis and you want to use a cream or lotion to soften your skin, you must apply it to your skin at least 1 hour before you apply this drug.

Sun sensitivity

This drug may make you more sensitive to sunlight. This sensitivity may cause you to sunburn more easily. You should try to avoid sunlight, sunlamps, and tanning beds. If you must be outside, wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and a hat and clothes that cover your skin.

Talk to your doctor if you get a sunburn during treatment with this drug. Don’t use this medication until your sunburn heals.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on January 6, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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