Etretinate and its major metabolite acitretin are retinoids used to treat psoriasis and other skin disorders. Exposure to etretinate or acitretin can be teratogenic to a fetus.


Etretinate is an ethyl ester of an aromatic analogue of all-trans-retinoic acid.


Brand names for etretinate: Tigason, Tegison

Brand name for acitretin: Soriatane

Alternative name for acitretin: etretin


Teratogenic defects may be similar to those seen with isotretinoin (Accutane):

(1) CNS defects including exencephaly (cranial defect with brain outside of the skull)

(2) craniofacial defects such as cleft palate and micrognathia

(3) hypoplastic limbs

(4) fetal death


The rate of teratogenic effects increases with the dose.


Etretinate has a long terminal half-life of 100 days. It is detectable in plasma for up to 2 years after drug discontinuation. A patient who has been treated with etretinate may be banned from donating blood for this reason.


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