NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Retinoid Preparations

Retinoid containing preparations are prescribed in the treatment of severe acne, eczema and psoriasis by physicians with experience in their use. Within NHSGGC, this is generally under the supervision of a consultant dermatologist with prescriptions dispensed by hospital pharmacies. With the Western Infirmary now closed, as part of the transfer of services to the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, patients requiring these products will be issued with a HBP prescription (blue outpatient prescription pad) and asked to attend their nominated community pharmacy to obtain their supply.


Retinoid preparations carry significant risk in their use particularly for female patients of child bearing age. All are potent teratogens with an extremely high risk of causing foetal malformation, even when used at a low dose or for a short time during pregnancy. Counselling on side-effects is given at the clinic along with relevant information sheets which tell patients about their condition and treatment. Full counselling will be given at the clinic regarding pregnancy prevention.  All female patients will have a pregnancy test carried out at the clinic and the prescription is only written when the result is negative. 


In order to comply with the relevant SPCs, prescriptions for retinoids for women of childbearing potential must be dispensed within seven days. Prescriptions for these women will be limited to one month’s supply. The patients will be advised that these drugs will not be routinely stocked and to present the prescriptions as soon as possible. Community pharmacists are expected to ensure that prescriptions are dispensed within seven days and to check the patient is aware of the associated risks.


All products have a Pregnancy Prevention Programme (PPP) in place.  Further information on their use and possible side effects can be obtained from the MHRA's Drug Safety Update or BNF Chapter 13 Skin




Posted: July 10, 2015