May 23, 2017
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Targretin Gel

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Targretin Gel

(bexarotene) 1% Gel


Targretin® (bexarotene) gel 1% contains bexarotene and is intended for topical application only. 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).

The chemical name is 4-[1-(5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-3,5,5,8,8-pentamethyl2-naphthalenyl)ethenyl] benzoic acid, and the structural formula is as follows:

  Targretin® (bexarotene)  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.

Targretin® gel is a clear gelled solution containing 1.0% (w/w) bexarotene in a base of dehydrated alcohol, USP, polyethylene glycol 400, NF, hydroxypropyl cellulose, NF, and butylated hydroxytoluene, NF.

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

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using bexarotene topical and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • severe skin irritation (pain, burning, stinging, itching) after applying this medication;
  • severe skin rash or redness; or
  • swelling, bleeding, or tearing of treated skin.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • mild burning, stinging, or itching;
  • mild...

Read All Potential Side Effects and See Pictures of Targretin Gel »

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/28/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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