By Gary M. White, MD

Note, this is a brief summary only and is meant to emphasize dermatologic aspects. More complete information and recent studies should be consulted before prescribing.

Targretin is bexarotene 1% gel


Targretin® (bexarotene) gel 1% is indicated for the topical treatment of cutaneous lesions in patients withn CTCL (Stage IA and IB) who have refractory or persistent disease after other therapies or who have not tolerated other therapies.


Targretin® gel 1% is contraindicated in patients with a known hypersensitivity to bexarotene or other components of the product.

Pregnancy: Category X

Targretin® gel 1% may cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman.

Drug-Drug Interactions

Patients who are applying Targretin® gel should not concurrently use products that contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide), a common component of insect repellent products. An animal toxicology study showed increased DEET toxicity when DEET was included as part of the formulation.

Side Effects

The most common adverse events in the Phase I-II program were rash (78%), pain (40%), and pruritus (40%).


Targretin® gel should be initially applied once every other day for the first week. The application frequency should be increased at weekly intervals to once daily, then twice daily, then three times daily and finally four times daily according to individual lesion tolerance. Generally, patients were able to maintain a dosing frequency of two to four times per day. Most responses were seen at dosing frequencies of two times per day and higher. If application site toxicity occurs, the application frequency can be reduced. Should severe irritation occur, application of drug can be temporarily discontinued for a few days until the symptoms subside.

Monitoring for Pregnancy. Instructions for Patients


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