Psoriasis Home > Tazorac and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, you should not use Tazorac (tazarotene). The medication is a retinoid, which is a type of drug known to cause birth defects and other problems. Although the full risks for humans are still unknown, animal studies suggest Tazorac use during pregnancy may be linked to problems such as miscarriage, spina bifida, and heart problems.

Can Pregnant Women Take Tazorac?

Tazorac® (tazarotene) is a prescription psoriasis and acne medication that is applied to the skin. Based on the results of animal studies, it may present some risks to the fetus when used during pregnancy, although the full risks are currently unknown.

What Is Pregnancy Category X?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category X is given to medicines that show problems to the fetus in animal studies or in human use of the medication. With this category, the potential risks clearly outweigh the potential benefits.
Tazorac is a retinoid, and retinoid medications are known to cause birth defects and other problems. When Tazorac was given to pregnant animals, it caused a wide range of serious birth defects, such as spina bifida, hydrocephalus, and heart problems. Other problems, such as low fetal weight, miscarriages, and developmental delays, were also seen.
Although this drug has not been systematically studied in pregnant women, nine women became pregnant while taking tazarotene (the active ingredient in Tazorac) during clinical studies. One woman chose to have an elective abortion for unrelated reasons, but the other eight women gave birth to normal children.

Avoiding Pregnancy While on Tazorac

Due to the potentially serious problems Tazorac may cause during pregnancy, it is critical that women avoid becoming pregnant while using this medication. Women of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test within two weeks before starting Tazorac, and they should start taking it during a normal menstrual period. Adequate birth control must be used at all times.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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