Acitretin, a synthetic retinoid, is the pharmacologically active metabolite of etretinate. It is currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of severe psoriasis in adults and has been established as a second-line therapy for the treatment of psoriasis resistant to the use of topical therapy. It is also an option for generalized pustular psoriasis, palmoplantar pustulosis, exfoliative erythrodermic psoriasis, and severe psoriasis in the setting of acitretin. It also has been shown to have chemo-preventative characteristics. Acitretin is limited by its teratogenicity and therefore considered inappropriate in most female patients of childbearing age. Common side effects include mucocutaneous dryness and elevated triglycerides.
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