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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Trifarotene belongs to a group of medications called acne therapy. Specifically, it is in the category of retinoids. It is used to treat acne vulgaris on the face and torso of adults and adolescents older than 12 years of age. 

Trifarotene appears to help acne partly by clearing the skin pores and keeping them clear. You will begin to see improvement 4 to 8 weeks after starting the medication, with further improvement as you continue to use the cream.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

To use this medication gently cleanse and dry the skin. Apply a thin layer of cream to cover the affected area once a day, in the evening. A single pump of cream from the container will provide enough cream for the face, including forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Two pumps will provide enough cream to cover the upper back, shoulders and chest. If needed, one additional pump may be used for the middle and lower back. Apply the cream only to the areas that are affected by acne.

Take special care to minimize contact with the eyes, lips, and other easily irritated areas. Make sure the skin is dry before application. If you apply a moisturizer before this medication, allow it to absorb into the skin before applying the trifarotene cream.

Wash your hands with soap and water after applying this medication.

This medication may cause increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight. Sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) and protective clothing should be used when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Avoid getting the medication in your eyes, and do not take the medication by mouth. Do not cover the treatment areas with dressings or bandages. Do not apply to skin that is broken or severely inflamed.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to apply this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each gram of white cream contains 50 µg of trifarotene. Nonmedicinal ingredients: allantoin, copolymer of acrylamide and sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate with isohexadecane, polysorbate 80 and sorbitan oleate, cyclomethicone 5, ethanol (96% alcohol), phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, triglycerides medium-chain and purified water.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to trifarotene or any ingredients of the medication
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • have eczema or seborrheic dermatitis

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • burning
  • dryness
  • loss of skin pigment
  • peeling
  • skin redness
  • stinging

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., extreme stinging, burning, redness, swelling)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Exposure to sunlight: This medication can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Make sure you use sunscreen (minimum SPF 30) and protective clothing when exposed to sunlight. If you have a sunburn, you should not use trifarotene until you have fully recovered.

Skin Care: Trifarotene can make your skin dry and possibly irritated. It is important to avoid using other skin products or treatments with strong drying or irritant effects. These products and procedures may include electrolysis, hair depilatories, medicated soaps or shampoos, permanent wave solution, waxes, and products containing high amounts of alcohol, astringents, spices, or lime peel.

Exposure to wind and cold may also dry and irritate your skin.

Other acne medications may contribute to skin irritation. Discuss your options with your doctor.

Pregnancy: It is recommended that pregnant people do not use trifarotene. When similar medications have been taken by mouth during pregnancy, the babies born to these people were at an increased risk of birth defects. Because the amount of this medication that is absorbed through the skin varies, there is a risk that the unborn baby may be exposed to trifarotene if it is used during pregnancy. People who may become pregnant should use an effective method of birth control while using this medication. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if trifarotene passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children less than 12 years of age.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

For a full list of interactions, use the Drug Interaction Checker available on the website.

If you are taking other medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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