Targretin

(bexarotene)

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Helps treat skin tumors from T-cell lymphoma.

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Our bottom line

Targretin (bexarotene) is reserved for when T-cell lymphoma spreads to the skin, but is only used when you haven't responded well enough to other medicines.

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    $22039.94
Quick facts about bexarotene
  • Drug class: cancer
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (bexarotene)

Upsides

  • Targretin (bexarotene) can work when other medications have failed.
  • Pill taken once daily.
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Downsides

  • Not a good choice if you're pregnant or planning on getting pregnant.
  • You may need to take other medicines to control your cholesterol and thyroid levels while on Targretin (bexarotene).
  • May lower blood sugar if you're taking diabetes medicines.
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How it works

Targretin (bexarotene) is a retinoid that stops DNA from multiplying, slowing cancer cell growth.

Quick facts about bexarotene
  • Drug class: cancer
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: Lower-cost generic available (bexarotene)

Used for

  • T-cell lymphoma

Dosage forms

  • Pill
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Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Targretin (bexarotene) for T-cell lymphoma of the skin

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  • First few hoursHours
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  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few hoursHours
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  • Possible side effects
  • High cholesterol
  • Low thyroid levels
  • Headache
  • Lack of energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
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Side effect rates for Targretin (bexarotene)

From 84 clinical trials of bexarotene when taken for t-cell lymphoma of the skin (300 mg/m2/day (initial dose))
  • High blood lipids
    79%79%
  • High cholesterol
    32%32%
  • Headache
    30%30%
  • Low thyroid levels
    28%28%
  • Lack of energy
    20%20%
  • Rash
    17%17%
  • Dry skin
    17%17%
  • Low white blood cells
    17%17%
  • Nausea
    16%16%
  • Infection
    13%13%
  • Swelling in arms and legs
    13%13%
  • Abdominal pain
    11%11%
  • Chills
    10%10%
  • Inflamed, shedding skin
    10%10%
  • Higher lactic dehydrogenase
    7%7%
  • Diarrhea
    7%7%
  • Low red blood cells
    6%6%
  • Fever
    5%5%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    5%5%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    4%4%
  • Hair loss
    4%4%
  • Low pale-red blood cells
    4%4%
  • Vomiting
    4%4%
  • Back pain
    2%2%
  • Weight loss
    2%2%
0%
10%
20%
30%
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50%
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70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of bexarotene.

Targretin (bexarotene)
Placebo

People taking bexarotene felt side effect more

People taking bexarotene felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Targretin (bexarotene)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Sexually active women and men of childbearing age

    Targretin (bexarotene) can harm an unborn baby during pregnancy. Don't use Targretin (bexarotene) while pregnant. Male partners receiving Targretin (bexarotene) must use a condom during sex. Stop Targretin (bexarotene) if you become pregnant. Talk to your doctor about finding different medicines if you're pregnant or want to become pregnant.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Common concerns from people taking Targretin (bexarotene)

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Food
  • Take Targretin (bexarotene) pills once daily with meals. Take pills whole. Don't open, crush, or chew. Avoid drinking grapefruit juice.
Kidneys and liver
  • Targretin (bexarotene) can damage your liver. Your doctor will order blood tests to check your liver and will change your dose if needed. Talk to your doctor right away if you have pain or fluid build-up in your abdomen, yellowing skin or eyes, dark urine, or pale stools.