Adapalene

Topical Retinoid

Adapalene is available as a prescription and non-prescription topical treatment. It is usually applied once a day before going to bed. 

  • Available forms:

    • Topical treatment:

      • Gel:
        Available as non-prescription (over-the-counter) and prescription
        • Brand names (US): 
          • Differin® 
            (There may be other brand names for this product)
            Generic available
      • Solution: (Liquid)
        Available only as a prescription 
        Forms: 
        – In a glass bottle with an applicator
        – Individual pledgets (medical wipes for single use)
        • Brand names (US):  
          • Differin® 
            (There may be other brand names for this product)
            No generic available
      • Lotion:
        Available only as a prescription 
        • Brand names (US): 
          • Differin®
            (There may be other brand names for this product)
            Generic available
      • Cream:
        Available only as a prescription 
        • Brand names (US):  
          • Differin® 
            (There may be other brand names for this product)
            No generic available

Combination products of adapalene are also available, such as adapalene + benzoyl peroxide.

  • Available in these doses:

    • Gel: 0.1%, 0.3%
    • Solution: 0.1%
    • Lotion: 0.1%
    • Cream: 0.1%
  • Who is it for? 

    • Gender:
      • Males and females
    • Severity of acne:
      • All degrees 
    • Age:
      • Children 12 years and older, adolescents, and adults

How to use it:

Adapalene is topically applied usually once a day before going to bed to all acne-affected areas of the skin, and not just on individual pimples themselves. Adapalene should not be applied on abrated or broken skin or on skin affected by eczema, sun- or windburn. Wait until the skin is healed to apply adapalene. Adapalene should not be applied on mucous membranes, eyes, or lips. If adapalene gets into your eyes, wash them with a generous amount of water and call your physician. When adapalene gets into the eyes, the eyes may get irritated, swollen, or infected. 

You may use moisturizers while using adapalene, however, avoid using alpha hydroxy or glycolic acid-containing products. 

Adapalene helps controls your acne but it does not cure it. It may take up to 2 to 3 months to see an effect of adapalene on your acne. 

Follow the instructions on your prescription carefully and take adapalene exactly as prescribed by your physician. Do not change the amount or the frequency of your medication. If you have any questions about the medication or the prescription, ask your physician or pharmacist. 

The dosing for children 12 years and older and adolescents is the same as the dosing for adults.

Applying more medication than prescribed or applying the medication more frequently than prescribed will not make adapalene work faster. However, it may increase the risk of side effects such as skin irritation, redness, or peeling of the skin. 

Before applying adapalene, wash your hands with soap and water and wash acne-prone areas with water and a mild cleanser. Do not scrub the skin. Rinse and pat the skin dry gently with a soft towel. 

Then, apply adapalene to acne-prone areas. 

Shortly after the application of adapalene, a mild transitory sensation of warmth or stinging may occur. This is normal and transitory.

You may experience dry skin when you use adapalene, and applying a moisturizer after applying adapalene may help relieve dry skin and irritation.   

  • Gel:
    • Apply a thin layer of adapalene on clean and dry, acne-affected areas of the skin. Use your fingers to very gently apply the medication until it is absorbed into the skin.
  • Solution: 
    • Bottle: Gently apply a thin layer of adapalene on clean and dry, acne-affected areas of the skin using the provided applicator.  
    • Pledgets: Remove the pledget from its pouch. Use the pledget to gently wipe the affected area. Each pledget is for single use only, and should not be reused. Discard the pledget safely after the first use. 
  • Lotion:
    • Before applying the lotion, wash the face gently with a soap-free cleanser and pat dry. Use a nickel-sized amount of adapalene lotion (about 3 to 4 pump actions) to carefully and gently cover your entire face. 
  • Cream: 
    • Apply a thin layer of adapalene on clean and dry, acne-affected areas of the skin. Use your fingers to gently apply the medication until it is absorbed into the skin.

Be aware of: 

  • Before using adapalene, let your physician or pharmacist know if you are allergic to adapalene or any of the other ingredients in the treatment. If you are allergic to other retinoids, you may or may not be allergic to adapalene.
  • Before using adapalene, tell your physician if you currently suffer from or have ever suffered from eczema or cancer. Your physician may advise you not to take adapalene.
  • Adapalene may make your skin more sensitive to extreme weather, such as intense cold or wind, or direct sunlight. Avoid unnecessary or prolonged exposure to real and artificial sunlight (including tanning beds and sunlamps), and cold temperatures. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, especially if you tend to get sunburned easily. Wear sunglasses and protective clothing. 
  • Avoid using hot wax or other hair removal products while using adapalene, as these can worsen skin dryness and irritation.
  • If you are using adapalene and are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, talk to your physician about using adapalene during pregnancy.
  • If you are using adapalene and are breastfeeding, talk to your physician about using adapalene during this period.
  • You can continue your regular diet unless your physician tells you otherwise.
  • Do not use adapalene for a skin condition that it was not indicated for, without consulting your physician first. 
  • Do not share your medication with anyone else. 

Drug interactions: 

Inform your physician or pharmacist about all the prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan on taking before starting resorcinol / sulfur. Also inform your physician or pharmacist of the skin products you use including soaps, cleansers, moisturizers, and cosmetics. 

Your physician may ask you to use other topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, or erythromycin while you are using adapalene. Applying the medications at different times of the day can help reduce the chance of skin irritation. Do not apply any topical medication to the same part of your skin where you are using adapalene, unless directed by your physician. 

Do not swallow

If adapalene is swallowed, contact an emergency facility or call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1 (800) 222-1222 (available 24/7).

If immediate assistance is necessary because the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, call 911.

Information can also be found online at: https://www.poisonhelp.org/help

What if I miss a dose?

As soon as you recall that you have missed a dose, apply the missed dose. However, skip the missed application if it is almost time for your next application and continue with the indicated dosing schedule. Do not increase the quantity or frequency of application to make up for the missed dose. 

Storage:

Store your medication in the container that the pharmacist provided and keep it out of reach and out of sight of children. Many containers can be opened by children. Keep the container tightly closed. Always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location that is up and away from the sight of young children, to prevent poisoning (www.upandaway.org).

Store the medication at room temperature. Keep the medication away from excessive heat and moisture – do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze adapalene.

Disposal:

Do not keep outdated medication and medication that you no longer use. Unneeded medications should be disposed of in a way that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. Do not flush the medication down the toilet. Contact your pharmacist to learn about the availability of a medicine take-back program in your neighborhood, or get in touch with your local garbage/recycling department to ensure safe disposal. If you do not have access to a take-back program, you can find more information on safe disposal of medication on the FDA website: (https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm

References
  1. Medlineplus.gov. (2018). Adapalene: MedlinePlus Drug Information. [online] Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a604001.html#storage-conditions [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
  2. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. (2018). Adapalene. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0008827/?report=details. [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
  3. Toxnet.nlm.nih.gov. (2018). Adapalene. [online] Available at: https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2/f?./temp/~WQ6ZGF:1. [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
  4. Uptodate.com. (2018). Adapalene. [online] Available at: https://www-uptodate-com.eresources.mssm.edu/contents/adapalene-drug-information?search=adapalene&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~20&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#F6217581. [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].
  5. Epocrates.com. (2018). Adapalene. [online] Available at: https://online.epocrates.com/drugs/178310/adapalene-topical/Monograph. [Accessed 4 Apr. 2018].