Psoriasis Home > Tazorac

Available in the form of a gel or cream, Tazorac is a drug that is applied to the skin to treat plaque psoriasis and acne. It is thought to work by reducing inflammation and slowing the rapid growth of skin cells. In most cases, it is applied to the affected areas once a day, in the evening. Possible side effects include redness, itching, and burning.

What Is Tazorac?

Tazorac® (tazarotene) is a prescription medication approved for treating plaque psoriasis and acne. It comes in the form of a gel or cream that is applied to the skin. The same active ingredient sold under a different brand name (Avage®) is also approved to treat some of the signs of sun damage, such as fine wrinkles and spots.
(Click Tazorac Uses for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Tazorac?

Tazorac is made by Allergan, Inc.

How Does It Work?

Tazorac is a "prodrug," a medication that is chemically inactive until it is changed by the body into the active form. The active form of Tazorac is a retinoid, which is chemically related to vitamin A. Other well-known retinoids include Retin-A® and Accutane®.
This medication is believed to work by suppressing inflammation and slowing down rapid skin cell growth.

When and How to Use Tazorac

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with Tazorac include the following:
  • The medication is usually applied once daily to the affected areas in the evening. Use only a thin layer.
  • For acne, be sure to cover the entire affected area. For psoriasis, use only on affected skin (do not apply to healthy skin).
  • Make sure to keep the medicine away from the eyes.
  • Wash your hands after applying Tazorac, unless you are treating your hands.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure on areas of the body where Tazorac has been applied, since you will burn more easily.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be used as directed.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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