Classifications: antiacne; retinoid;
Therapeutic: antiacne

Prototype: Isotretinoin
Pregnancy Category: C


0.1%, 0.3% gel; 0.1% cream


Adapalene is a topical retinoid-like compound that modulates cellular differentiation, keratinization, and inflammatory processes related to the pathology of acne vulgaris. Topical adapalene may normalize the differentiation of epithelial follicular cells.

Therapeutic Effect

Adapalene decreases the inflammatory process and acne formation.


Topical treatment of acne vulgaris.


Hypersensitivity to adapalene or any of the components of the gel, irritating topical products, and sunburn; skin abrasion, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis; pregnancy (category C).

Cautious Use

Lactation. Safety and effectiveness in children <12 y are not established.

Route & Dosage

Adult: Apply once daily to affected areas in evening


  • Apply a thin film to clean skin, avoiding eyes, lips, mucous membranes, cuts, abrasions, eczematous or sunburned skin.
  • Do not apply to skin recently treated with preparations containing sulfur, resorcinol, or salicylic acid.
  • Store at 20°–25° C (68°–77° F).

Adverse Effects (≥1%)

Skin:: Erythema, scaling, dryness, pruritus, burning, skin irritation, stinging, sunburn, acne flares.


Absorption: Minimal through intact skin. Elimination: Primarily in bile.

Nursing Implications

Assessment & Drug Effects

  • Monitor therapeutic effectiveness, which is indicated by improvement after 8–12 wk of treatment; early therapy may be marked by apparent worsening of acne.
  • Note: Cutaneous reactions (e.g., erythema, scaling, pruritus) are common and normally diminish after first month of therapy.

Patient & Family Education

  • Apply only as directed; excessive application will not result in faster healing but will cause marked redness, peeling, and discomfort.
  • Minimize exposure to sunlight and sunlamps, and use sunscreen and protective clothing as needed.

Common adverse effects in italic, life-threatening effects underlined; generic names in bold; classifications in SMALL CAPS; Canadian drug name; Prototype drug

© 2006-2022 Last Updated On: 11/26/2022 (0)
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