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(bexarotene) Capsules, 75 mg

Targretin® (bexarotene) capsules are a member of the retinoid class of drugs that is associated with birth defects in humans. Targretin® (bexarotene) capsules also caused birth defects when administered orally to pregnant rats. Targretin® (bexarotene) capsules must not be administered to a pregnant woman. See CONTRAINDICATIONS.


Targretin® (bexarotene) is a member of a subclass of retinoids that selectively activate retinoid X receptors (RXRs). These retinoid receptors have biologic activity distinct from that of retinoic acid receptors (RARs). Each soft gelatin capsule for oral administration contains 75 mg of bexarotene.

The chemical name is 4-[1-(5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-3,5,5,8,8-pentamethyl-2-naphthalenyl) ethenyl] benzoic acid, and the structural formula is as follows:

Targretin® (bexarotene) capsules  Structural Formula Illustration

Bexarotene is an off-white to white powder with a molecular weight of 348.48 and a molecular formula of C24H28O2. It is insoluble in water and slightly soluble in vegetable oils and ethanol, USP.

Each Targretin® (bexarotene) capsule also contains the following inactive ingredients: polyethylene glycol 400, NF, polysorbate 20, NF, povidone, USP, and butylated hydroxyanisole, NF. The capsule shell contains gelatin, NF, sorbitol special-glycerin blend, and titanium dioxide, USP.

What are the possible side effects of bexarotene (Targretin)?

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking bexarotene and seek emergency medical attention:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives); or
  • symptoms of pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) such as persistent nausea, vomiting, and abdominal or back pain.

Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to take bexarotene and talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • an increase in fats in the blood (blood lipids) such as...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Targretin »

What are the precautions when taking bexarotene (Targretin)?

Before taking bexarotene, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to vitamin A-related drugs (other retinoids such as isotretinoin); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before taking this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: pancreatitis.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: frequent alcohol use, cataracts, high blood fats (high cholesterol/triglyceride), diabetes, gallbladder disease, liver problems, thyroid problems (e.g., hypothyroidism).


Read All Potential Precautions of Targretin »

Last reviewed on RxList: 9/19/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Targretin - User Reviews

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