Adapalene Lotion

Name: Adapalene Lotion

Dosage Forms and Strengths

Lotion, 0.1%. Each gram of the lotion contains 1 mg of adapalene in a white to off-white oil-in-water emulsion.



Use in specific populations


Pregnancy Category C. There are no well-controlled trials in pregnant women treated with Adapalene Lotion. Therefore, Adapalene Lotion should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with Adapalene Lotion. Furthermore, such studies are not always predictive of human response.

Human Data

In clinical trials involving Adapalene Lotion, 0.1% in the treatment of acne vulgaris, women of childbearing potential initiated treatment only after a negative pregnancy test. Two women became pregnant while using Adapalene Lotion, 0.1%. One patient delivered a healthy full term baby and the other patient electively terminated her pregnancy.

Animal Data

No teratogenic effects were observed in rats treated with oral doses of 0.15 to 5.0 mg adapalene/kg/day, up to 25 times (mg/m2/day) the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 2 grams of Adapalene Lotion. However, teratogenic changes were observed in rats and rabbits when treated with oral doses of ≥ 25 mg adapalene/kg/day representing 123 and 246 times MRHD, respectively. Findings included cleft palate, microphthalmia, encephalocele and skeletal abnormalities in rats; and umbilical hernia, exophthalmos and kidney and skeletal abnormalities in rabbits. Dermal teratology studies conducted in rats and rabbits at doses of 0.6-6.0 mg adapalene/kg/day [25-59 times (mg/m2) the MRHD] exhibited no fetotoxicity and only minimal increases in supernumerary ribs in both species and delayed ossification in rabbits. Systemic exposure (AUC0-24h) to adapalene at topical doses (6.0 mg/kg/day) in rats represented 101 times the exposure to adapalene in patients with acne treated with Adapalene Lotion applied to the face, chest and back (2 grams applied to 1000 cm2 of acne-involved skin).

Nursing Mothers

It is not known whether adapalene is excreted in human milk following use of Adapalene Lotion. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when Adapalene Lotion is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of Adapalene Lotion in pediatric patients under the age of 12 have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of Adapalene Lotion did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects.

Adapalene Lotion - Clinical Pharmacology

Mechanism of Action

Adapalene binds to specific retinoic acid nuclear receptors but does not bind to cytosolic receptor protein. Biochemical and pharmacological profile studies have demonstrated that adapalene is a modulator of cellular differentiation, keratinization and inflammatory processes. However, the significance of these findings with regard to the mechanism of action of adapalene for the treatment of acne is unknown.


Pharmacodynamics of Adapalene Lotion is unknown.


Systemic exposure of adapalene following a topical application of Adapalene Lotion was studied in two pharmacokinetic (PK) clinical trials.
The first trial was conducted in 14 adult subjects 18 to 29 years of age with severe acne and the second trial was conducted in 13 adolescent subjects 12 to 17 years of age with moderate to severe acne.

In each trial, subjects were treated with 2 g of Adapalene Lotion applied once daily applied to approximately 1000 cm2 of acne involved skin for 28 days (adolescent subjects) or 30 days (adult subjects). Serial plasma samples were collected at 24 or 72 hours following application on days 1, 15 and 28/30. Daily topical application of Adapalene Lotion resulted in low systemic exposure to adapalene in the two populations (adult and adolescent subjects). In the adult population, all plasma concentrations in 12 out of 14 subjects were below the limit of quantification (LOQ=0.1 ng/mL). One subject had one sample above LOQ at day 30 and the other subject had four plasma samples above LOQ on both days 1 and 15, which ranged from 0.102 and 0.131 ng/mL. In the adolescent population, plasma concentrations were quantifiable (>0.1 ng/mL) in five subjects. On Day 28, the mean Cmax was 0.128± 0.049 ng/mL (range: <0.100 to 0.244 ng/mL) and the mean of AUC0-24hr was 3.07 ± 1.21 (range: 1.86 to 4.93 Adapalene plasma concentrations in all subjects were below the limit of quantification (<0.1 ng/mL) 48 hours after the last application on Day 28.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

No carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and impairment of fertility studies were conducted with Adapalene Lotion.

Carcinogenicity studies with adapalene have been conducted in mice at topical doses of 0.4, 1.3, and 4.0 mg/kg/day (1.2, 3.9, and 12 mg/m2/day), and in rats at oral doses of 0.15, 0.5, and 1.5 mg/kg/day (0.9, 3.0, and 9.0 mg/m2/day). In terms of body surface area, the highest dose levels are 9.8 (mice) and 7.4 times (rats) the MRHD of 2 grams of Adapalene Lotion. In the rat study, an increased incidence of benign and malignant pheochromocytomas in the adrenal medulla of male rats was observed.

No photocarcinogenicity studies were conducted with adapalene. However, animal studies have shown an increased tumorigenic risk with the use of pharmacologically similar drugs (e.g. retinoids) when exposed to UV irradiation in the laboratory or sunlight. Although the significance of these findings to humans is not clear, patients should be advised to avoid or minimize exposure to either sunlight or artificial irradiation sources.

Adapalene did not exhibit mutagenic or genotoxic effects in vitro (Ames test, Chinese hamster ovary cell assay, mouse lymphoma TK assay) or in vivo (mouse micronucleus test).
In rat oral studies, 20 mg adapalene/kg/day (120 mg/m2/day; 98 times the MRHD based on mg/m2/day comparison) did not affect the reproductive performance and fertility of F0 males and females, or growth, development and reproductive function of F1 offspring.

Patient Counseling Information

  • Apply a thin layer of Adapalene Lotion to the affected areas of the skin once daily, after washing gently with a mild soapless cleanser. Dispense a nickel size amount of Adapalene Lotion (3-4 actuations of the pump) to cover the entire face. Avoid application to the areas of skin around eyes, lips and mucous membranes. Adapalene Lotion may cause irritation such as erythema, scaling, dryness, stinging or burning.
  • Advise patients to cleanse the area to be treated with a mild or soapless cleanser; pat dry. Apply Adapalene Lotion to the entire face or other acne affected areas as a thin layer, avoiding the eyes, lips and mucous membranes.
  • Exposure of the eye to this medication may result in reactions such as swelling, conjunctivitis and eye irritation.
  • Patients should be advised not to use more than the recommended amount and not to apply more than once daily as this will not produce faster results, but may increase irritation.
  • Advise patients to minimize exposure to sunlight including sunlamps. Recommend the use of sunscreen products and protective apparel (e.g., hat) when exposure cannot be avoided.
  • Moisturizers may be used if necessary; however, products containing alpha hydroxy or glycolic acids should be avoided.
  • This medication should not be applied to cuts, abrasions, eczematous, or sunburned skin.
  • Wax depilation should not be performed on treated skin due to the potential for skin erosions.
  • This product is for external use only.

Distributed by:
Owen Laboratories, Inc., a Galderma Company
Fort Worth, Texas 76177 USA
GALDERMA is a registered trademark.