Acitretin/Ethyl Alcohol Interactions

This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking or discontinuing any drug or commencing any course of treatment.

Medical warning:

Serious. These medicines may interact and cause very harmful effects. Contact your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) for more information.

How the interaction occurs:

Ethanol transforms acitretin into etretinate.

What might happen:

Etretinate, like acitretin, causes birth defects. Because etretinate builds up in fat cells in the body, it can take your body several years to remove all of the etretinate from itself.

What you should do about this interaction:

If you are female, you should not consume ethanol during and for two months after acitretin therapy. Some medicines contain ethanol. Let your healthcare professionals (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) know right away that you are taking these medicines together. Your doctor may want to change your medicine to one that does not contain ethanol.Your healthcare professionals may already be aware of this interaction and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

  • 1.Larsen FG, Jakobsen P, Knudsen J, Weismann K, Kragballe K, Nielsen-Kudsk F. Conversion of acitretin to etretinate in psoriatic patients is influenced by ethanol. J Invest Dermatol 1993 May;100(5):623-7.
  • 2.Schmitt-Hoffmann AH, Dittrich S, Saulnier E, Schenk P, Chou RC. Mechanistic studies on the ethyl-esterification of acitretin by human liver preparations in vitro. Life Sci 1995 Nov 17;57(26):PL407-12.
  • 3.Knights KM, Gasser R, Klemisch W. In vitro metabolism of acitretin by human liver microsomes: evidence of an acitretinoyl-coenzyme A thioester conjugate in the transesterification to etretinate. Biochem Pharmacol 2000 Aug 15;60(4):507-16.
  • 4.Soriatane (acitretin) US prescribing information. Roche Pharmaceuticals February, 2014.
  • 5.Gronhoj Larsen F, Steinkjer B, Jakobsen P, Hjorter A, Brockhoff PB, Nielsen-Kudsk F. Acitretin is converted to etretinate only during concomitant alcohol intake. Br J Dermatol 2000 Dec;143(6):1164-9.
  • 6.USFood and Drug Administration (FDA). Docetaxel: Drug Safety Communication - May Cause Symptoms of Alcohol Intoxication. available at: edicalProducts/ucm402106.htm June 20, 2014.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.