Bexarotene Gel
Brand name: Targretin®

Bexarotene is in the family of retinoids, which are synthetic versions of vitamin A. Bexarotene activates a specific type of retinoid receptor (known as RXR) and influences cancer cell growth and differentiation. Bexarotene is available as a gel, which is applied to affected lesions between 1-4 times per day. 

In clinical practice, the topical retinoid class of drugs like bexarotene are often considered second line therapy for patients who have demonstrated persistent disease after treatment with topical corticosteroids or other skin directed therapies.

Bexarotene gel frequently causes varying degrees of irritant dermatitis, which usually looks like redness, scaling, itching, and even blistering localized to treatment sites.  These local side effects can be reduced by gradual increase in frequency of application or by combining with topical steroids to treat the irritation.