Topical bexarotene comes as a gel to apply to the skin. It is usually applied once every other day at first and gradually applied more frequently up to two to four times a day. Use topical bexarotene at around the same times 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 bexarotene exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of topical bexarotene and gradually increase your dose, not more often than once a week. Your doctor may decrease your dose if you experience side effects.
Your condition may improve as soon as 4 weeks after you begin to use topical bexarotene, or it may take several months before you notice any improvement. Continue to use topical bexarotene after you notice improvement; your condition may continue to improve. Do not stop using topical bexarotene without talking to your doctor.
Bexarotene gel may catch fire. Do not use this medication near a source of heat or near an open flame such as a cigarette.
Bexarotene gel is for external use only. Do not swallow the medication and keep the medication away from your eyes, nostrils, mouth, lips, vagina, tip of penis, rectum, and anus.
You may bathe, shower, or swim during your treatment with topical bexarotene, but you should use only a mild, non-deodorant soap. You should wait at least 20 minutes after bathing or showering before applying topical bexarotene. After you apply the medication, do not bathe, swim, or shower for at least 3 hours.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
To use the gel, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands.
- If you are using a new tube of bexarotene gel, remove the cap and check that the opening of the tube is covered with a metal safety seal. Do not use the tube if you do not see the safety seal or if the seal has been punctured. If you do see the safety seal, turn the cap upside down and use the sharp point to puncture the seal.
- Use a clean finger to apply a generous layer of gel to the area to be treated only. Be careful not to get any gel on the healthy skin around the affected area. Do not rub the gel into the skin. You should be able to see some gel on the affected area after you are finished applying it.
- Do not cover the treated area with a tight bandage or dressing unless you were told to do so by your doctor.
- Wipe the finger that you used to apply the gel with a tissue and throw the tissue away. Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Allow the gel to dry for 5-10 minutes before covering with loose clothing. Do not wear tight clothing over the affected area.