Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Adapalene

Adapalene is indicated to treat and prevent acne, especially in the presence of whiteheads and blackheads.

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Adapalene is the active ingredient of Differin.

General Information

Adapalene is indicated to treat and prevent acne, especially in the presence of whiteheads and blackheads.

It may leave your skin more susceptible to sunlight and sunburn. It is advised to keep sun exposure to the minimum and wear sunscreen and protective clothing whenever exposed to the sun whilst using adapalene. If sunburn occurs, discontinue use until the skin is fully recovered.

Avoid contact with the eyes, mouth, angles of the nose and mucous membrane, as adapalene has excessive drying effects here that may cause irritation.

Excessive application will not produce better or more rapid results. Optimal results may only be acquired after 6 or more weeks of use.

During the first few weeks of treatment with adapalene there may be an apparent worsening of your acne. Do not discontinue use.

How does adapalene work?

Adapalene is thought to work by helping skin cells shed normally rather than accumulating in pores. It thus prevents and treats acne by keeping pores clear.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Adapalene is available as gel and cream.

What does it do? Adapalene is an anti-acne medication.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is adapalene available as a generic? No

Is adapalene available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 6 weeks

Duration of action: Up to 24 hours

Stopping this medicine: When discontinuing this medication, avoid using peeling agents such as sulphur, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid until the effects of adapalene have passed. Also continue to take precautions against sun exposure for 1-2 weeks after stopping.

Prolonged use: Side effects are more likely with prolonged use.

Special precautions

  • Do not use adapalene concurrent with other topical agents for the treatment of acne without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Caution is advised when using medicated or abrasive cleaners, soaps, degreasing agents, cosmetics that have a strong drying effect and products that contain high concentrations of alcohol.
  • Do not apply to sunburnt skin, and minimise unprotected sun exposure.
  • Do not apply to cuts, burns, abrasions and eczema.

Pregnancy: Avoid. There is positive evidence of human foetal risk should adapalene be absorbed systemically. Discuss with your prescriber before use.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: Not recommended for children under the age of 12.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Stop drug immediately

Call doctor immediately

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Skin burning/stinging

x

x

Excessive redness, dryness, oedema or blistering

x

x

x

Acne

x

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

Irritating cosmetics: toners, peeling agents, perm solutions

Increased potential of skin irritation

Medicated cosmetics

Increased potential of skin irritation

Soaps, abrasives and cleansers

Increased potential of skin irritation. Use mild soaps only

Topical preparations with a high content of alcohol, menthol, spices, lime etc (perfumes, shaving lotions)

Increased potential of skin irritation

Topical keratolytics - sulphur, resorcinol, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid

Increased potential of skin irritation

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of oral ingestion seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Apply in a thin film layer once daily - just before bedtime - after thorough cleansing. In some circumstances, when a patient complains of skin irritation, this may be decreased to once every other day until the irritation ceases.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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