Effect of topical tazarotene in the treatment of congenital ichthyoses

Br J Dermatol. 1999 Oct;141(4):642-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1999.03101.x.


The clinical efficacy and tolerability of the topical receptor-selective retinoid tazarotene in the treatment of congenital ichthyoses was investigated. Twelve consecutive patients with different forms of congenital ichthyosis were enrolled in an open, non-randomized, intraindividually controlled, half-side pilot study. Diagnoses were X-linked recessive ichthyosis, non-erythrodermic autosomal recessive lamellar ichthyosis, autosomal dominant ichthyosis vulgaris and ichthyosis bullosa of Siemens (IBS). Tazarotene 0.05% gel was applied unilaterally daily on a defined body area measuring 10% of the body surface area. The contralateral side was treated with an ointment containing 10% urea. After 14 days, application frequency was reduced to three times a week, and stopped after another 2 weeks. The follow-up period was 3 months. Reduction in scaling and roughness was used to assess the clinical response in the tazarotene-treated area compared with the control area. Clinical and laboratory assessments were performed every 14 days during the trial. Unilateral improvement in favour of the tazarotene-treated side was observed in nine of 12 patients (75%). Four patients (33%) achieved an excellent response and four (33%) achieved a good response. No therapeutic effect was seen in patients with IBS. The remission persisted during the reduction phase and after discontinuation for up to 2 months. Local irritation in three patients was the only side-effect detectable. Short-term topical application of tazarotene 0.05% gel is a very effective and well-tolerated treatment modality in different forms of congenital ichthyoses and may be an alternative to systemic retinoid therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / etiology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gels
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosis, X-Linked / drug therapy*
  • Keratolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Keratolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotinic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Nicotinic Acids / adverse effects
  • Nicotinic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Pilot Projects


  • Gels
  • Keratolytic Agents
  • Nicotinic Acids
  • tazarotene