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Mequinol/tretinoin (On the skin)

Mequinol (ME-kwin-ol), Tretinoin (TRET-i-noin)

Treats brown "age" or "liver" spots on the skin.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to mequinol or tretinoin. You should not use this medicine if you are pregnant or could become pregnant.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Using more medicine or using it more often will not improve your condition, and may cause unwanted effects.
  • Using the applicator tip, apply the medicine only to the spots identified by your doctor. Be careful not to get any medicine on the skin surrounding these spots, on your lips, or in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • You may notice stinging, burning, or irritation of your skin after applying the medicine. This should go away.
  • Apply the medicine once in the morning and once in the evening, at least 8 hours apart, or as instructed by your doctor.
  • Wait 30 minutes before applying makeup to any treated area. Do not shower or bathe any treated areas for at least 6 hours after using the medicine.
  • This medicine works gradually, and may take a few months to improve your condition. If you stop using this medicine, your spots may become darker again over time.
  • Do not use this medicine for any condition except the one for which it was prescribed. Do not share this medicine with anyone else, especially children.

If a dose is missed:

  • Skip the missed dose and apply the next scheduled dose at the regular time.
  • Do not apply two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Return the bottle to the carton after each use.
  • Keep away from heat and open flame. Store at room temperature away from moisture and direct light.
  • Keep this and all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows about all medicines and skin or hair products you use.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Do not become pregnant while you are using this medicine. It can cause harm to an unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control.
  • If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using this medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are sensitive to sunlight or have any other skin conditions, especially eczema. Tell your doctor if you, or anyone in your family, has a skin condition called vitiligo.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions for skin care and sun exposure while you are using this medicine. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or sunlamps. Use a sunscreen while you are outdoors. Do not use this medicine if you are sunburned.
  • Your skin may be more sensitive to sunlight, wind, cold, or other weather conditions, while you are using this medicine.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Burning, stinging, or tingling
  • Color change of the treated spot, or the area surrounding it, to lighter than normal skin
  • Darkening of the treated spot
  • Redness, itching, or irritation
  • Scaling or peeling of the skin

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 3/19/2020

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.

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