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What is Vesanoid (tretinoin)?
Vesanoid is a prescription medication used to treat various cancer such as Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) in adults.
Vesanoid belongs to the drug class, retinoids. These medications are derived from Vitamin A and are typically used to treat skin cancer, aging, and disorders.
What are the Indications for Vesanoid?
Vesanoid is indicated to treat a type of blood cancer that affects the bone marrow called acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). APL makes too many young blood cells that don’t work properly resulting in problems such as feeling overly tired, bleeding easily, and getting frequent infections.
Vesanoid is used with chemotherapy to help the body make more healthy blood cells by helping young blood cells turn into mature ones.
How is Vesanoid used?
Vesanoid should be stored at room temperature between 68° – 77°F(20° – 25°) in a tightly closed container, away from light and moisture.
Keep out of reach of children and pets.
This medication is typically taken two times a day, 12 hours apart, with or without food.
Vesanoid is available in capsule form in the strength of 10mg. The recommended dose is dependent on your body weight.
It’s important to understand that although Vesanoid is FDA-approved, it comes with side effects that may or may not affect you.
Before starting, you should discuss possible side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
Common Side Effects
Not all side effects require medical attention. As your body adjusts to Vesanoid, side effects may go away.
Tell your doctor if you experience the following symptoms, and they become severe or do not go away on their own:
- Dry skin
- Peeling or scaling of the skin
- Redness or itching of the skin
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight
- Loss of appetite
Serious Side Effects
Severe adverse reactions while using Vesanoid can occur. Seek emergency medical care or call 911 if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe allergic reaction: severe rash or itching, swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat, rapid heartbeat, fainting or dizziness, or problems breathing or swallowing.
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Severe headache or dizziness
- Blurred vision or changes in vision
- Seizures or convulsions
- Fever or chills
The information above does not list all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any side effects not listed. You or your doctor may report side effects to the FDA by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.
Warnings & Precautions
Before using Vesanoid, tell your doctor or pharmacist:
- If you are allergic to any medications such as Vesanoid
- If you have a history of angioedema or have a family history of angioedema
- If you have kidney problems
- If you have liver problems
- If you are pregnant or expect to become pregnant
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
Rapidly evolving leukocytosis
Taking Vesanoid can lead to rapidly evolving leukocytosis which is when the number of white blood cells in the body increases quickly. This can cause symptoms like fever, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. It’s important to tell the doctor if these symptoms occur, as they may need to adjust the dosage of the medication or stop treatment temporarily to prevent complications.
Retinoic acid-APL syndrome
Taking Vesanoid can cause a rare side effect called retinoic acid-APL syndrome. This happens when the medicine starts working too well and causes a sudden increase in the number of immature blood cells. This can lead to symptoms like fever, breathing problems, and swelling. If this happens, it’s important to let the doctor know right away so they can adjust the treatment.
Limit sun exposure
Taking Vesanoid may make you more prone to sunburn. Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays, such as tanning beds, while taking Vesanoid to prevent sun damage.
Pregnant or Planning to Become Pregnant
Using Vesanoid during pregnancy can severely harm your unborn child and may result in death. It is recommended to use effective contraceptives while taking Vesanoid. If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Vesanoid, contact your doctor immediately.
It is not known if Vesanoid passes into breast milk. If you are breastfeeding or considering breastfeeding while taking Vesanoid, talk to your doctor for the best course of action before taking.
Interactions & Contraindications
Before using Vesanoid, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you take any medications, herbal supplements, or vitamins.
Taking Vesanoid with anti-fungal medications such as fluconazole and ketoconazole can increase the serious side effects of Vesanoid. Consult with your doctor to determine if a change of therapy is needed.
Taking Vesanoid with blood thinners such as warfarin or heparin can increase your risk of bleeding and bruising. Consult with your doctor to determine if a change of therapy is needed.
Taking Vesanoid with Accutane or isotretinoin can increase the risk of serious side effects, such as increased pressure inside the skull. Consult with your doctor to determine if a change of therapy is needed.