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Tazarotene Topical

pronounced as (taz ar' oh teen)

Why is this medication prescribed?

Tazarotene (Tazorac, Fabior) is used to treat acne. Tazarotene (Tazorac) is also used to treat psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form on some areas of the body). Tazarotene (Avage) is used to reduce facial wrinkling and discoloration in patients who are also using other skin care and sunlight avoidance programs. Tazarotene is in a class of medications called retinoids. It works to treat acne and psoriasis by slowing skin cell overgrowth and decreasing skin cell inflammation, which can lead to acne or psoriasis. It works to reduce facial wrinkles and discoloration by causing an increase in the thickness of the outer skin layers.

How should this medicine be used?

Tazarotene comes as a cream, foam, and gel to apply to the skin. It is usually used once a day in the evening. Use tazarotene at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use tazarotene exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Your doctor may adjust the strength of tazarotene, change how often you use it, or temporarily stop your treatment, depending on the improvement of your condition and the side effects that you may experience, Be sure to tell your doctor how you are responding to your treatment.

If you are using tazarotene to treat acne, your symptoms should improve in about 4 weeks. If you are using tazarotene to treat psoriasis, your symptoms should improve in about 1 to 4 weeks with treatment with tazarotene. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, call your doctor.

Shake the tazarotene foam well before use.

Tazarotene foam may catch fire. Stay away from open fire, flames, and do not smoke while you are applying tazarotene foam, and for a short time afterward.

Do not apply tazarotene to skin that is sunburned, irritated, scraped, or covered with eczema (a skin disease). If you have any of these conditions, do not apply tazarotene to that area until your skin has healed.

You may use moisturizers as often as you would like, however, wait until the moisturizer is fully absorbed in the skin (usually 1 hour) before applying tazarotene.

To use the cream, foam, and gel follow these steps:

  1. If you are using tazarotene to treat acne or to reduce facial wrinkling and discoloration, first wash the skin with water and a mild soap and pat dry with a soft towel. If you are using tazarotene to treat psoriasis, it is not necessary to wash the affected skin first, but if you have washed the skin, pat dry before applying tazarotene.
  2. Apply a thin layer of cream, foam, or gel to the affected skin. If you are using this medication to reduce facial wrinkling and discoloration, you may apply it to your entire face, including your eyelids. Gently and thoroughly massage it into the skin. Be careful not to get tazarotene in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  3. Do not cover the affected area with any bandages, dressings, or wrappings.
  4. Wash your hands with soap and water after you finish handling the medication.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine

This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking tazarotene,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tazarotene, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in tazarotene cream, foam, or gel. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: chlorothiazide (Diuril); chlorpromazine; chlorthalidone (in Clorpres, Edarbyclor, Tenoretic); fluphenazine; fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), and ofloxacin; hydrochlorothiazide (Microdize, in Dyazide, in Hyzaar, in products with HCT suffix, others); indapamide; methyclothiazide; metolazone (Zaroxolyn); perphenazine; prochlorperazine (Compro, Procomp); sulfonamide medications such as co-trimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra), and sulfisoxazole (in erythromycin ethyl succinate and sulfisoxazole acetyl); tetracycline antibiotics such as doxycycline (Monodox, Oracea, Vibramycin, others), tetracycline (Achromycin V, in Pylera), and tigecycline (Tygacil); thioridazine; trifluoperazine; and vitamin A supplements. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • if you are also using benzoyl peroxide (Benzaclin, Duac, Epiduo, others), apply it a different time of day than when you apply tazarotene.
  • tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had skin cancer, or if you have or have ever had eczema or any other skin condition, or if your skin is unusually sensitive to sunlight.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. You should not become pregnant while using tazarotene. Talk to your doctor about birth control methods that you can use during your treatment. If you can become pregnant, you will need to have a negative pregnancy test within 2 weeks before starting treatment. You should start using tazarotene during your menstrual period, to be sure you are not pregnant. If you become pregnant while using tazarotene, stop using tazarotene and call your doctor immediately. Tazarotene may harm the fetus.
  • plan to avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to real and artificial sunlight (tanning beds and sunlamps) and to wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, especially if you sunburn easily. Also avoid prolonged exposure to cold or wind. Tazarotene may make your skin sensitive to sunlight or extreme weather.
  • tell your doctor about all skin or hair care products that you use, including soaps, shampoos, permanent wave solutions, cleansers, moisturizers, and cosmetics. Many skin care products can irritate your skin, if you use them with tazarotene, especially those that are harsh, dry out the skin, or contain alcohol, spices, or lime rind. If you have been using these products, your doctor may want you to wait before you begin using tazarotene. Ask your doctor to recommend products that will not irritate your skin.
  • be careful not to get tazarotene in your eyes. If you do get tazarotene in your eyes, wash with plenty of water.
  • do not use hot wax or electrolysis to remove unwanted hair from the area that you are treating with tazarotene during your treatment with this medication.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you are using tazarotene gel, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

If you are using tazarotene cream or foam, apply the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

Do not apply extra gel, cream or foam at the next scheduled dose to make up for a missed dose.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Tazarotene may cause side effects. The following symptoms are likely to affect the skin you are treating with tazarotene. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • itching
  • burning
  • redness
  • rash
  • peeling
  • stinging
  • pain
  • dryness
  • swelling
  • discoloration
  • irritation or swelling of the eyelid or eye
  • chapped or inflamed lips
  • swelling in arms or legs

Tazarotene may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze.

Tazarotene foam is flammable, keep it away from flames and extreme heat. Do not puncture or incinerate the tazarotene foam container.

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

In case of emergency/overdose

If someone swallows tazarotene, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Avage®
  • Fabior®
  • Tazorac®
  • Duobrii (as a combination product containing Halobetasol, Tazarotene)
Last Revised - 06/15/2019