Vesanoid, also known as tretinoin, is a medication commonly prescribed for treating Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL), a specific type of cancer. This drug belongs to a group of vitamin A derivatives called retinoids.

While Vesanoid is primarily used for APL treatment, it can also address conditions such as acne and various skin issues.

The treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) has received a massive boost with the advent of non-chemotherapy drugs such as all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and arsenic trioxide (ATO). These effective alternatives to traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy have revolutionized the field of APL management as they only kill the cancerous cells.

However, personalized approaches and vigilant monitoring remain critical components of successful outcomes. It is highly recommended that you consult your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan.

How Does Vesanoid Work?

This all-trans-retinoic acid belongs to a group of drugs called retinoids used to treat Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, a cancer of white blood cells.

Vesanoid’s primary function is to inhibit the growth and reproduction of cancerous cells and promote their transformation into newly developing and mature cells. The transformation encourages the affected or destroyed cells to grow into new normal cells.

Precautions and Warnings of Vesanoid

Vesanoid is a valuable treatment for APL, but it must be used carefully, following all the warnings and precautions provided for the drug. Regular monitoring and adherence to precautions can help manage side effects and ensure the safe use of Vesanoid during APL treatment. Vesanoid-related cautions and warnings include the following:

  • Liver Function: Vesanoid medication causes a certain level of liver toxicity. Your doctor should regularly carry out liver function tests to monitor for hepatotoxicity.
  • Retinoic Acid Syndrome: Use of Vesanoid may result in symptoms associated with too much white blood cells. If not treated early, this condition could lead to a failure of multiple body organs, which can be potentially fatal.
  • Pregnancy: If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, avoid the Vesanoid medication because it can cause some severe congenital disabilities to the unborn baby.
  • Photosensitivity: Patients under Vesanoid medication may have increased sunlight sensitivity and thus should avoid excess exposure to the sun or use sunscreen.
  • Avoid Vitamin A Supplements: Concurrent use of Vesanoid and vitamin A supplements can lead to toxicity.
  • Avoid Breastfeeding: A nursing mother under Vesanoid medication should not breastfeed a child because the medication can be deposited into the milk and cause adverse effects to the baby.
  • Renal Impairment: In higher dosages, Vesanoid may affect patients with impaired kidney function hence their dosage should be adjusted as needed.

Side Effects of Vesanoid

Patients must be aware of the potential effects of Vesanoid and promptly report any unusual symptoms to their healthcare provider. Some of the side effects associated with Vesanoid intake include:

Common Side Effect

  • Swollen and painful joints
  • Weight gain
  • Dark tarry stools
  • Vomiting
  • Cracked lips
  • Itching
  • Reduced urge to urinate
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Increased sweating

Severe Side Effects

While not commonly experienced, these side effects can sometimes be severe and even life-threatening.

  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • No noticeable pulse
  • Severe headache
  • Signs of stroke, ie, unable to move body parts like legs or arms
  • Blue lips
  • Vision loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea and vomiting accompanied with headache
  • Fever
  • Passing out
  • Stiff muscles
  • Loss of coordination

Drug Interactions With Vesanoid

Vesanoid and other medications can affect each other when used together. The interactions can tamper with the effectiveness of each drug and potentially increase the chances of having severe side effects.

It is essential to at least understand how Vesanoid interacts with other medications before you start taking them.

Isotretinoin (Accutane), Acitretin (Soriatane)They can cause an increased risk of vitamin A toxicity and severe side effects.
Tazarotene (Tazorac)Leads to increased irritation on the skin and causes dryness. They should only be used if the benefits outweigh the risks.
PrednisoneIncreased risk of intracranial hypertension (pseudotumor cerebri) when prednisone is used concurrently with tretinoin.
Multivitamins, High-dose Vitamin AThis interaction increases the risk of having vitamin A toxicity and more severe effects.
TetracyclinesVesanoid causes intracranial hypertension when used together with Tetracyclines.
PromazineThe use of Vesanoid concurrently with promazine causes an increased level of phototoxicity.

Strengths and Dosages of Vesanoid

The strengths and dosages of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) in treating acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) are standardized based on body surface area, ensuring appropriate dosing for adults and children.

Adults45mg/m2/dayDivided into two equal dosesUntil complete remission or 90 days after the start of treatment.
Children 1 year and above45mg/m2/dayDivided into two equal dosesUntil complete remission is documented or 90 days after the beginning of medication, whichever comes first

It would be best if you continued with dosage until a complete remission is attained and recorded, which represents a vital therapy milestone for APL. Through dose adjustments based on body surface area, ATRA therapy maximizes effectiveness while lowering the risks of side effects.

Alternatives To Vesanoid

Aside from Vesanoid, there are other alternative medications for treating the same condition as Vesanoid. An alternative drug can be prescribed to patients who don’t respond well to Vesanoid, or if there could be drug interactions with other medications that the patient is using.

Some of the alternative drugs a patient can use include:

  • Arsenic Trioxide (ATO): This is a form of arsenic that works very similarly to All-Trans-Retinoic Acid (ATRA) in patients. It can be used alongside ATRA during induction and consolidation therapy.
  • Chemotherapy: These regimens typically include combinations of cytotoxic drugs such as anthracyclines (e.g., daunorubicin, idarubicin) and cytarabine. Chemotherapy is preferred when the targeted therapies do not respond to the treatment as expected.
  • Stem Cell Transplantation: Also known as a bone marrow transplant, this type of treatment may be considered primarily for patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and patients who have experienced a relapse after other medications have been tried before and failed.

FAQs of Vesanoid

How is Vesanoid given (administered)?

Vesanoid is available as a capsule, taken orally to treat APL, or as a lotion, and it is applied topically to treat acne or rashes. The correct dosage for the capsule will depend on the cancer being treated, the size of the patient, and their overall health.

Can you take Vesanoid while driving or using machines?

It would be best if you were very careful when driving and operating a machine because your judgment might be relatively impaired while under Vesanoid medication.

Does Vesanoid deplete any nutrients?

Nutrient levels and vitamins can be affected by the Vesanoid medication and can quickly be depleted.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for Vesanoid?

Notify your doctor of any allergies to its ingredients, any other drugs you might be taking, and whether you are pregnant or nursing.  Also, since Vesanoid could exacerbate symptoms of pre-existing conditions, patients should disclose to their physician any conditions they may have, including chicken pox, renal failure, liver disease, lung disease, and heart disease.

Who should not take Vesanoid?

You should not take this medication if allergic to all trans retonic acid or any related ingredient. Pregnant or breastfeeding or people using any other vitamin A medication should also not use Vesanoid due to potential interactions.

What is the mechanism of action for Vesanoid?

The drug Vesanoid belongs to the class of medications called retinoids that are closely related to vitamin A. Retinoids promote the maturation of APL cells, modifying the body’s abnormal cells into healthy cells.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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