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Medication Spotlight: Aklief

In the overcrowded market of topical retinoids (tazarotene, adapalene, tretinoin), dermatologists will now have an additional option for treating acne vulgaris called Aklief. This agent contains trifarotene used for acne vulgaris on the face and trunk in patients ages 12 and up.

This is the first retinoid in Canada officially indicated and approved for trunk acne. Retinoids modify keratinocyte activity in the skin, resulting in reduction in comedones and increased cell turnover. Aklief is specifically designed to target the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) gamma, which is largely present in skin compared to other alpha and beta subtypes.

Aklief is applied once daily in the evening to dry, intact skin. Patients should be advised to apply moisturizer regularly because it can cause dryness, irritation, redness and scaling. If irritation persists, patients can consider using it every other day. Patients should also use sunscreen because of the risk of photosensitivity and sunburn. These adverse effects will subside with time and are less common when applied to the trunk region.

Note that Aklief is contraindicated in pregnancy due to the possibility of teratogenicity through inadvertent absorption. It is also contraindicated in patients with eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.

Patients should be advised to use Aklief for at least 4 to 8 weeks (or longer) for initial benefit.

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