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Components:
Acitretin
Method of action:
Antipsoriatic
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Medically reviewed by Fedorchenko Olga Valeryevna, Pharmacy-Provisor. Last updated on 2019.09.22

Name of the medicinal product

Acitretine CF

Qualitative and quantitative composition

Acitretin

Therapeutic indications

The information provided in Therapeutic indications of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Therapeutic indications in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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- Extensive and severe refractory forms of psoriasis;

- Pustulous psoriasis of the hands and feet;

- Severe congenital ichthyosis and ichthyosiform dermatitis;

- Lichen ruber planus of skin and mucous membranes;

- Other severe and refractory forms of dermatitis characterised by dyskeratosis and/or hyperkeratosis.

Dosage (Posology) and method of administration

The information provided in Dosage (Posology) and method of administration of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Dosage (Posology) and method of administration in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Acitretine CF should only be prescribed by doctors, who have experience in treatment with systemic retinoids and who are aware of the teratogenic risk associated with Acitretine CF.

The dosage is based on the clinical appearance of the disorder and the tolerability of the product. The treating physician must determine the dosage individually for each patient. The following information can serve as a guide.

This product is available in two strengths:

Acitretine CF 10 mg capsules

Acitretine CF 25 mg capsules

Adults

An initial daily dose of 25 or 30 mg Acitretine CF (i.e. 1 capsule of Acitretine CF 25 mg or 3 capsules of Acitretine CF 10 mg) for 2 to 4 weeks is recommended. After this initial phase, it may be necessary in some cases to increase the dose up to a maximum of 75 mg Acitretine CF per day (i.e. 3 capsules of Acitretine CF 25 mg). This maximum dose should not be exceeded.

In patients with Darier's disease a starting dose of 10mg may be appropriate. The dose should be increased cautiously as isomorphic reactions may occur.

The maintenance dose must be adjusted to the therapeutic response and the tolerability. In general, a daily dose of 30 mg Acitretine CF for a further 6 to 8 weeks allows an optimum therapeutic effect to be achieved in psoriasis. In keratinisation disorders, the maintenance dose should be kept as low as possible (possibly less than 10 mg Acitretine CF per day). It should not on any account exceed 30 mg Acitretine CF per day.

Therapy can generally be discontinued in patients with psoriasis whose lesions have improved sufficiently. Long-term therapy is not recommended in psoriasis patients. Relapses are treated in the same way.

Patients with severe congenital ichthyosis and severe Darier's disease may require therapy beyond 3 months. The lowest effective dosage, not exceeding 50mg/day, should be given.

Elderly

Dosage recommendations are the same as for other adults.

Combination therapy:

If the administration of Acitretine CF is combined with other forms of treatment, it may be possible to reduce the dose of Acitretine CF according to the therapeutic result. Other dermatological therapy, particularly with keratolytics, should normally be stopped before administration of Acitretine CF. However, the use of topical corticosteroids or bland emollient ointment may be continued if indicated.

Additional topical treatments, including purely skincare treatments, during the administration of Acitretine CF must be discussed with the doctor.

Method of administration

Acitretine CF hard capsules are for oral administration.

The hard capsules are taken whole once daily with meals or with milk. It is absolutely essential to keep to the dose of Acitretine CF calculated by the doctor.

Contraindications

The information provided in Contraindications of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Contraindications in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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PREGNANCY: Acitretine CF, the active substance of Acitretine CF, is highly teratogenic and must not be used during pregnancy. The same applies to all women of childbearing potential, unless strict contraception is practiced 4 weeks before, during and for 3 years after treatment.

LACTATION: Acitretine CF is contraindicated during the period of breast-feeding.

Acitretine CF is not indicated in hepatic and renal dysfunction (liver and kidney failure), severe hyperlipaemia, concurrent use of vitamin A or other retinoids and during co-medication with methotrexate. Since Acitretine CF and tetracyclines can cause an increase in intracranial pressure, they must not be given concurrently.

Acitretine CF must not be used concomitantly with low dose progesterone-only products (minipills).

Acitretine CF must not be used in patients with hypersensitivity to the active substance “Acitretine CF” or other retinoids or to any of the excipients.

Special warnings and precautions for use

The information provided in Special warnings and precautions for use of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Special warnings and precautions for use in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Acitretine CF is highly teratogenic and hence contraindicated in women of childbearing potential unless pregnancy is reliably prevented 4 weeks before, during and for 3 years after the completion of therapy.

Full patient information about the teratogenic risk and the strict pregnancy prevention measures should be given by the physician to all patients, both male and female.

Clinical evidence has shown that etretinate can be formed with concurrent ingestion of Acitretine CF and alcohol. Etretinate is highly teratogenic and has a longer half-life (approximately 120 days) than Acitretine CF. Women of childbearing age must therefore not consume alcohol (in drinks, food or medicines) during treatment with Acitretine CF and for 2 months after cessation of Acitretine CF therapy. Contraceptive measures and pregnancy tests must also be taken for 3 years after completion of Acitretine CF treatment.

Women of childbearing potential must not receive blood from patients being treated with Acitretine CF. Donation of blood by a patient being treated with Acitretine CF is prohibited during and for 3 years after completion of treatment with Acitretine CF.

Due to the risk of foetal malformations, the medicine must not be passed on to other people. Unused or expired products should be returned to a pharmacy for disposal.

In view of possible effects on liver function, this must be monitored regularly during treatment. Hepatic function should be checked before starting treatment with Acitretine CF, every 1 - 2 weeks for the first 2 months after commencement and then every 3 months during treatment. If abnormal results are obtained, weekly checks should be instituted. If hepatic function fails to return to normal or deteriorates further, Acitretine CF must be withdrawn. In such cases it is advisable to continue monitoring hepatic function for at least 3 months.

Serum cholesterol and serum triglycerides (fasting values) must be monitored, especially in high-risk patients (disturbances of lipid metabolism, diabetes mellitus, obesity, alcoholism) and during long-term treatment.

In diabetic patients, retinoids can alter glucose tolerance. Blood sugar levels should therefore be checked more frequently than usual at the beginning of the treatment period.

Before and during long-term therapy, x-rays (e.g. of the vertebral column, long bones, including ankles and wrists) must be taken at regular intervals (every year) in view of possible ossification abnormalities. In the event of hyperostosis, the discontinuation of therapy must be discussed with the patient. The risks must be carefully weighed against the therapeutic benefit to be expected.

Since there have been occasional reports of bone changes in children, including premature epiphyseal closure, fractures, skeletal hyperostosis and extraosseous calcification after long-term treatment with etretinate, these effects may be expected with its active metabolite Acitretine CF. Acitretine CF therapy in children is not, therefore, recommended unless, in the opinion of the physician, the benefits significantly outweigh the risks and all other alternative treatments have failed. If, in exceptional circumstances, such therapy is undertaken the child should be regularly monitored for any abnormalities of musculo-skeletal development and growth. Any symptoms that suggest possible bone changes (restricted mobility, bone pain) should be carefully investigated. As soon as the medical condition allows, the use of Acitretine CF should be interrupted.

The dosage should be based on bodyweight (b.w.). An initial daily dose of 0.5 mg Acitretine CF per kg b.w. is recommended. Higher doses up to 1 mg Acitretine CF per kg b.w. per day may be necessary for a limited period in some cases. The maximum dose of 35 mg Acitretine CF per day should not be exceeded.

The fixed-dose capsule formulations of 10 and 25 mg may not provide sufficient flexibility to cover the proposed paediatric dosing schedule per kg b.w. In this case preparation of a suitable dosage form (e.g. powders or capsules) made of the capsule content of Acitretine CF by qualified pharmaceutical personnel in a public or hospital pharmacy is suggested.

The mean maintenance dose lies at 0.1 mg Acitretine CF per kg b.w. per day. The maintenance dose should be kept as low as possible and should generally not exceed 0.2 mg Acitretine CF per kg b.w. per day (dosing every other day may be considered).

The effects of UV light are enhanced by retinoid therapy, therefore patients should avoid excessive exposure to sunlight and the unsupervised use of sun lamps.

Decreased night vision has been reported with Acitretine CF therapy. Patients should be advised of this potential problem and warned to be cautious when driving or operating any vehicle at night. Visual problems should be carefully monitored.

Wearing of contact lenses might become impossible due to dryness of the eyes. Patients who wear contact lenses should be excluded from treatment or wear glasses throughout the treatment period.

Very rare cases of Capillary Leak Syndrome / retinoic acid syndrome have been reported from world-wide post marketing experience.

Very rare cases of Exfoliative dermatitis have been reported from world-wide post marketing experience.

Effects on ability to drive and use machines

The information provided in Effects on ability to drive and use machines of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Effects on ability to drive and use machines in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Acitretine CF has moderate influence on the ability to drive and use machines.

Decreased night vision has been reported with Acitretine CF therapy. In rare cases, this has continued after the treatment has stopped. Patients should be advised of this potential problem and warned to be cautious when driving or operating any vehicle at night or in a tunnel. Visual problems should be carefully monitored.

Undesirable effects

The information provided in Undesirable effects of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Undesirable effects in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Possible side effects of Acitretine CF occur in varying degrees from patient to patient. Most of the side effects are dose-related and usually reversible with reduction of dosage or discontinuation of therapy.

At the start of treatment with Acitretine CF there may be a transient worsening of the psoriasis symptoms.

The skin and mucous membranes are most commonly affected, and it is recommended that patients should be so advised before treatment is commenced.

The reported adverse reactions are listed below by system organ class and by frequency.

Frequencies are defined as:

Very common (> 1/10)

Common (> 1/100 to < 1/10)

Uncommon (> 1/1,000 to < 1/100)

Rare (> 1/10,000 to < 1/1,000)

Very rare (<1/10,000)

Not known (frequency cannot be estimated from the available data)

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders:

Very common:

over 80% of patients experienced: hypervitaminosis A as e.g. dry lips and possibly inflamed lips (using moisturisers or 'emollients' from the start of treatment can help to relieve dry skin problems.)

40 - 80% of patients experienced: dry mucous membranes of mouth and nose, peeling of skin, especially the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, rhinitis.

10 - 40% of patients experienced: nose bleed, scaling and thinning of healthy skin with increased sensitivity, erythema, pruritus, sensation of “burning skin”, sensation of “sticky skin”, dermatitis, hair loss, inflammation of the nail wall, nail fragility.

Common:

up to 10% of patients experienced: development of rhagades, inflammation of oral mucosa and gingiva associated with taste disturbances, blistering of the skin, change in pigmentation of the skin and hair, change in growth rate of hair, change in hair structure.

Marked dose dependence has been observed especially with regard to

- dry skin and mucous membranes, especially of the lips and nose,

- increased sensitivity of the skin and mucous membranes and

- hair loss.

Side effects of the skin and mucous membranes occur rather soon (a few days) after start of treatment, hair loss cannot be expected until several weeks into the treatment.

These side effects are reversible after altering the dose or discontinuation of treatment. However, new growth of hair will take some months, due to the hair growth cycle.

Rare:

Increased sensitivity of the skin to light, as a result of which a sunburn can occur after only brief exposure to the sun. In these cases, care must be taken to wear adequate sun protection.

Not known:

Madarosis and exfoliative dermatitis.

Eye disorders

Common:

Wearing of contact lenses might become impossible. For this reason, patients should wear glasses during treatment with Acitretine CF.

Rare:

Inflammation or ulcers of the cornea.

Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders

Not known:

Dysphonia

Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders

Uncommon:

Myalgia, arthralgia and bone pain.

Gastrointestinal tract disorders

Rare:

Gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, dyspepsia).

Hepatobiliary disorders

Rare:

Hepatitis and jaundice.

Reproductive system and breast disorders

During treatment with Acitretine CF an increase in vulvovaginitis caused by Candida albicans has been observed.

General disorders

Common:

Thirst and feeling of cold (10 to 40%).

Uncommon:

Peripheral oedema, sensation of heat, dysgeusia, headache.

Investigations

In addition to a possible increase in liver function values, an elevation of blood lipids has also been observed during treatment with Acitretine CF.

The following changes in laboratory values occurred in patients during clinical trials:

- Elevation of triglycerides, total cholesterol, SGPT, creatine phosphokinase, SGOT, γ-GT, alkaline phosphatase, direct bilirubin, lactate dehydrogenase and uric acid

- Lowering of HDL cholesterol.

Occasionally an increase in creatinine, BUN and total bilirubin was observed.

Nervous system disorders

Rare:

An increase of intracranial pressure (pseudotumor cerebri) may occur, which may be accompanied by severe headache, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or visual disturbances, but subsides after discontinuation of treatment. If these symptoms occur the treating physician should be consulted immediately.

Immune system disorders

Not known:

Type 1 hypersensitivity.

Vascular disorders

Not known:

Capillary Leak Syndrome / retinoic acid syndrome.

Not all the consequences of long-term therapy with Acitretine CF can be estimated as yet.

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Health professionals are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard

Overdose

The information provided in Overdose of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Overdose in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Overdose of Acitretine CF leads to the signs and symptoms of acute hypervitaminosis A, with headache, nausea and/or vomiting, drowsiness, irritability and pruritus.

In the event of acute overdose, the use of Acitretine CF must be stopped. No further specific measures are necessary because of the low acute toxicity of the product.

Pharmacodynamic properties

The information provided in Pharmacodynamic properties of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Pharmacodynamic properties in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Pharmacotherapeutic group: Antipsoriatics, retinoids for treatment of psoriasis

ATC code: D05BB02

Retinol (Vitamin A) is known to be essential for normal epithelial growth and differentiation, though the mode of this effect is not yet established. Both retinol and retinoic acid are capable of reversing hyperkeratotic and metaplastic skin changes. However, these effects are generally only obtained at dosages associated with considerable local or systemic toxicity.

Acitretine CF, the active ingredient of Acitretine CF, is a synthetic aromatic analogue of retinoic acid and the main metabolite of etretinate, which has been used with success for a number of years in the treatment of psoriasis and other disorders of keratinisation.

Clinical studies have confirmed that, in psoriasis and dyskeratosis, Acitretine CF brings about a normalisation of epidermal cell proliferation, differentiation and keratinisation in doses at which the side effects are generally tolerable. The effect of Acitretine CF is purely symptomatic: the mechanism of action is still largely unknown.

In the case of keratinisation disorders, experience for up to 2 years is available.

Pharmacokinetic properties

The information provided in Pharmacokinetic properties of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Pharmacokinetic properties in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Absorption

Acitretine CF reaches peak plasma concentration 1 - 4 hours after ingestion of the drug. Bioavailability of orally administered Acitretine CF is enhanced by food. Bioavailability of a single dose is approximately 60%, but inter-patient variability is considerable (36 95%).

Distribution

Acitretine CF is highly lipophilic and penetrates readily into body tissues. Protein binding of Acitretine CF exceeds 99%. In animal studies, Acitretine CF passed the placental barrier in quantities sufficient to produce foetal malformations. Due to its lipophilic nature, it can be assumed that Acitretine CF passes into breast milk in considerable quantities.

Metabolism

Acitretine CF is metabolised by isomerisation into its 13-cis isomer (cis Acitretine CF), by glucuronidation and cleavage of the side chain.

Elimination

Multiple-dose studies in patients aged 21 - 70 years showed an elimination half-life of approximately 50 hours for Acitretine CF and 60 hours for its main metabolite in plasma, cis Acitretine CF, which is also a teratogen. From the longest elimination half-life observed in these patients for Acitretine CF (96 hours) and cis Acitretine CF (123 hours), and assuming linear kinetics, it can be predicted that more than 99% of the drug is eliminated within 36 days after cessation of long-term therapy. Furthermore, plasma concentrations of Acitretine CF and cis Acitretine CF dropped below the sensitivity limit of the assay (< 6ng/ml) within 36 days following cessation of treatment. Acitretine CF is excreted entirely in the form of its metabolites, in approximately equal parts via the kidneys and the bile.

Clinical evidence has shown that etretinate can be formed with concurrant ingestion of Acitretine CF and alcohol. Etretinate is highly teratogenic and has a longer half-life (approximately 120 days) than Acitretine CF.

Pharmacotherapeutic group

The information provided in Pharmacotherapeutic group of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Pharmacotherapeutic group in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Antipsoriatics, retinoids for treatment of psoriasis

Preclinical safety data

The information provided in Preclinical safety data of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Preclinical safety data in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Non-clinical data reveal no special hazard for humans based on conventional studies of repeated dose toxicity, genotoxicity, and carcinogenic potential.

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Incompatibilities

The information provided in Incompatibilities of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Incompatibilities in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Not applicable.

Special precautions for disposal and other handling

The information provided in Special precautions for disposal and other handling of Acitretine CF is based on data of another medicine with exactly the same composition as the Acitretine CF of the medicine (Acitretin). Be careful and be sure to specify the information on the section Special precautions for disposal and other handling in the instructions to the drug Acitretine CF directly from the package or from the pharmacist at the pharmacy.
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Any unused product or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements.