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J Am Acad Dermatol. 1995 Jul;33(1):44-52.

The safety of etretinate as long-term therapy for psoriasis: results of the etretinate follow-up study.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, MA 02215, USA.



Etretinate is an aromatic retinoid given orally to treat severe psoriasis, a chronic disease that often requires long-term therapy.


We assessed the safety of long-term therapy with etretinate for psoriasis.


This 5-year prospective study of a cohort of 956 patients with psoriasis treated with etretinate assessed the frequency of adverse events in relation to total use and in relation to the frequency of these events in control populations.


Our data do not provide evidence for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or inflammatory bowel disease in association with long-term etretinate use. Although some patients reported that joint problems improved with the use of etretinate, a greater number associated the use of etretinate with joint problems.


With proper patient selection and monitoring, long-term etretinate therapy (up to 4 years) does not appear to be accompanied by a substantial increased risk of major adverse effects.

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