Tretinoin is a generic prescription drug used to treat acne and a type of blood cancer. Tretinoin’s cost may depend on factors such as your dosage, the form you use, and whether you have health insurance.

Tretinoin comes as both a topical drug (meaning it’s applied to the skin) and as an oral capsule.

The topical forms include a topical cream, gel, and a gel microsphere. These forms are used to treat acne in adults and some children.

The oral capsule is used in adults and some children to treat acute promyelocytic leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

Tretinoin comes in the following brand versions: Altreno, Atralin, Avita, Renova, Retin-A, and Retin-A Micro.

For more details on tretinoin, see this in-depth article.

The price you pay for tretinoin can vary. Your cost may depend on your treatment plan, your insurance coverage, the form you’re prescribed, and the pharmacy you use.

To find out how much you’ll pay for tretinoin, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Note: If you have insurance, you may need to get prior authorization before your insurance provider will cover tretinoin. This means your insurer and your doctor will discuss tretinoin in regard to your treatment. Then the insurance company will determine whether the drug is covered. If tretinoin requires prior authorization and you don’t receive it before you start treatment, you could pay the full cost of the drug.

Be sure to ask your insurance company whether tretinoin requires prior authorization.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about tretinoin and cost.

What’s the cost of tretinoin with insurance vs. without insurance?

The cost of tretinoin with insurance versus without insurance can vary based on several factors.

Factors that may affect your cost of tretinoin without insurance include:

  • your treatment plan and dosage
  • the form of tretinoin you’re prescribed
  • the pharmacy you choose
  • the quantity of tretinoin you receive (such as a 30-day or 90-day supply)
  • any cost savings programs you qualify for

The same factors affect your cost of the drug if you’re paying through insurance. But in addition, your cost with insurance may depend on:

  • your specific plan benefits
  • any prior authorization requirements for your plan

To learn more about your cost with and without insurance, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider (if you have one).

Whether you have insurance or not, you can visit Optum Perks* to get price estimates for tretinoin when you use coupons from the site. It’s important to note that Optum Perks coupons cannot be used with any insurance copays or benefits.

* Optum Perks is a sister site of Healthline.

Does Medicare cover tretinoin?

It’s possible. To find out whether your Medicare plan covers the cost of tretinoin, call your plan provider. There are many different types of Medicare plans available, and your cost and coverage depend on your individual plan benefits.

Keep in mind that your plan may have prior authorization requirements before it will cover tretinoin.

You can also ask your doctor about the cost of tretinoin if you have Medicare.

Tretinoin is a generic drug. A generic contains an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. A generic is considered just as safe and effective as the original drug but tends to cost less.

Tretinoin comes in the following brand-name versions: Altreno, Atralin, Avita, Renova, Retin-A, and Retin-A Micro. To find out how the costs of brand-name versions and tretinoin compare, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

If you’ve been prescribed tretinoin and you’re interested in a brand-name version instead, talk with your doctor. They may prefer one version instead of the other. In addition, you’ll need to check with your insurance provider. This is because it may only cover one drug or the other.

Why is there such a cost difference between brand-name drugs and generics?

Years of research and testing are needed to ensure that brand-name drugs are safe and effective. This testing can make the drugs expensive. The manufacturer of a brand-name drug can sell the drug exclusively for up to 20 years. After that, other drugmakers can create generic versions. This competition in the market can lead to lower costs for generics. And because generics have the same active ingredients as brand-name drugs, they don’t need to be studied again. This can also lead to lower generic costs.

If you take tretinoin long term, you may be able to lower your costs in the following ways:

Look into getting a 90-day supply of your medication. You may be able to get a 90-day supply of tretinoin if approved by your insurance company. This could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost of tretinoin. If you’re interested in getting a 90-day supply of this drug, talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance provider.

Use a mail-order pharmacy to get your medication. Using a mail-order pharmacy might help lower your cost for tretinoin. Plus, you could get your medication without leaving home. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order drugs. You may also be able to get a 90-day supply of the drug through mail order. If you don’t have health insurance, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to suggest online pharmacy options that could work for you.

If you need help covering the cost of tretinoin or understanding your insurance, check out these resources:

On these sites, you can find insurance information, details on drug assistance programs, and links to savings cards and other services.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you still have questions about the cost of tretinoin, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to give you a better idea of what you’ll pay for this drug. But if you have health insurance, you’ll need to talk with your insurance provider to learn the actual cost you’d pay for tretinoin.

Examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor or insurance provider include:

  • How does the cost of tretinoin topical gel compare to the cost of the topical cream?
  • Does the cost of tretinoin depend on the dosage I’m prescribed?
  • Are there other treatment options I could try if I can’t afford tretinoin?

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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 another 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.