Retinoids and pregnancy: an update



Key content

  • The use and pharmacokinetics of retinoids.
  • The main known teratogenic effects of retinoids are face, skull, cardiovascular, nervous system and thymic abnormalities.
  • The pregnancy prevention programme must be adhered to when initiating retinoid treatment.
  • Effective contraception should be continued for at least one month after cessation of retinoid treatment.
  • Management options of pregnant women with recent retinoid use or exposure in early pregnancy; including involvement of the specialist multidisciplinary team.

Learning objectives

  • To understand the risk and in particular teratogenesis associated with exposure to retinoids peri-conception.
  • To raise awareness of the pregnancy prevention programme.
  • To highlight the management options for women who become pregnant with recent retinoid use or exposure in early pregnancy.

Ethical issues

  • Termination of pregnancy with peri-conceptual exposure to retinoids.
  • Should isotretinoin be used so widely in the childbearing population when we are aware of its teratogenicity?