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February 1986

Etretinate: Do We Need It?

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Baltimore, MD 21205

Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(2):133-134. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660140017005

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To the Editor.—  I am both amazed and dismayed to learn that etretinate will soon be available for use in the United States, courtesy of the Federal Drug Administration and the manufacturer. Simply stated, despite our experience with the teratogenicity of isotretinoin, we are being provided with a better and more effective means of ensuring that the number of malformed infants born to our patients will be increased. The use and abuse of isotretinoin has been associated with the birth of several dozen infants with a variety of malformations. Etretinate is not only more teratogenic, but it is also retained in the body much longer and, therefore, has greatly increased potential for teratogenicity. Of course, fetal malformations are only one aspect of the harmful effects of etretinate, and elevation of serum lipid levels, production of bony abnormalities, and premature epiphyseal closure are a few other effects that should be factored

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