Alitretinoin Brand Name– Panretin

What is Alitretinoin

Alitretinoin is a retinoid and a synthetic version of 9-cis-retinoic acid.

As vitamin A (retinol) derivatives, retinoids are important regulators of reproduction, and cell proliferation and differentiation; however, retinoids are not converted into rhodopsin, which is needed for night vision.

Retinoids are intracellular metabolites of retinol and include all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA), 9-cis, 11-cis or 13-cis-retinoic acid. Alitretinoin gel is effective in patients with cutaneous Kaposi’s sarcoma who have never received treatment or have failed or are refractory to previous treatments.

Alitretinoin gel produces objective responses and disappearance of some lesions in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma, reduces the rate of progression, increases the time to progression and provides durable responses. Alitretinoin gel is the first topical therapy approved for Kaposi’s sarcoma.

The FDA approved alitretinoin gel in December 1998. An oral formation of alitretinoin is currently under investigation for the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma, acute promyelocytic leukemia, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and prostate cancer.

In Phase II trials for Kaposi’s sarcoma, the overall response rate with oral alitretinoin capsules was 37%. Alitretinoin has been designated an orphan drug by FDA for treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma and acute promyelocytic leukemia.


  • Kaposi’s sarcoma

For the treatment of cutaneous lesions in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma

Side Effects

  1. edema
  2. erythema
  3. exfoliative dermatitis
  4. paresthesias
  5. pruritus
  6. rash

Monitoring Parameters

  • laboratory monitoring not necessary


  • breast-feeding
  • children
  • geriatric
  • occlusive dressing
  • pregnancy
  • sunlight (UV) exposure


There are no drug interactions associated with Alitretinoin products.


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