Retinol (Vitamin A)


Generic Name: Retinol (Vitamin A) Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.


What is Retinol® (Vitamin A) used for?

Retinol® is key for good vision, a healthy immune system, and cell growth.

Topical and oral retinoid are common prescription treatments for acne and other skin conditions, including wrinkles.

Oral retinol is used as a treatment for measles and dry eye in people with low levels of retinol. Besides, it is also used for a specific type of leukemia.

Retinol® has been studied as a treatment for many other conditions, including cancers, cataracts, and HIV. However, the results are inconclusive.

How should I take Retinol® (Vitamin A)?

Using Retinol® tablets:

  • Always take Retinol® with a full glass of water to prevent irritation. Do not chew or suck on the capsule. Swallow it as quickly as possible.
  • Take with food or milk.
  • Take this medication for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor.
  • To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested often.
  • Your liver function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.

Using Retinol® cream/gel:

Smooth a Retinol® cream/ gel over the treated skin once a day 20 to 30 minutes after washing your face.

How do I store Retinol® (Vitamin A)?

Retinol® products is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Retinol® products in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Retinol® products that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Retinol® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Retinol® (Vitamin A)?

 Before take Retinol®, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • A personal or family history of depression or mental illness;
  • Heart disease, high cholesterol or triglycerides;
  • Osteoporosis or other bone disorders;
  • An intestinal disorder such as inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease;
  • Diabetes;
  • Asthma;
  • An eating disorder (anorexia nervosa);
  • Liver disease.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Retinol®. This medication is pregnancy risk category A (oral); C (doses exceeding RDA); X (>6,000 units/day administered parenterally), according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk;
  • B=No risk in some studies;
  • C=There may be some risk;
  • D=Positive evidence of risk;
  • X=Contraindicated;
  • N=Unknown.

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Retinol® (Vitamin A)?

Side effects of Retinol® include:

  • Facial dermatitis;
  • Sticky skin;
  • Acne lesions;
  • Dry mucus;
  • Inflammation of the lips;
  • Hair loss.

Possible serious side effects include:

  • Serious allergic reactions;
  • Conjunctivitis;
  • Stratum corneum fragility;
  • Corneal opacities.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Retinol® (Vitamin A)?

Retinol® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Antibiotics interacts with Retinol®

Retinol® can interact with some antibiotics, such as Demeclocycline, Tetracyclines, Minocycline. Taking very large amounts of Retinol® along with them can increase the chance of a serious side effect called intracranial hypertension.

Medications that can harm the liver interacts with Retinol®

Do not take large amounts of Retinol® if you are taking a medication that can harm the liver, such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol And Others), Amiodarone (Cordarone), Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Isoniazid (INH), Methotrexate (Rheumatrex), Methyldopa (Aldomet), Fluconazole (Diflucan), Itraconazole (Sporanox), Erythromycin (Erythrocin, Ilosone, Others), Phenytoin (Dilantin), Lovastatin (Mevacor), Pravastatin (Pravachol), Simvastatin (Zocor), and many others.

Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with Retinol®

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Large amounts of Retinol® can also slow blood clotting. Taking Retinol® along with warfarin (Coumadin) can increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Does food or alcohol interact with Retinol® (Vitamin A)?

Retinol® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Retinol® (Vitamin A)?

Retinol® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of Retinol® (Vitamin A) for an adult?

The recommended dietary allowance

Males: 900 mcg/day (3000 U/day).


  • 700 mcg/day (2330 U/day).
  • >18 years pregnant: 750-770 mcg/day (2500-2600 U/day).
  • >18 years breastfeeding: 1300 mcg daily (4330 U).

Dry eye

Oral route: 200,000 U daily for 2 days.

Repeat dose again after 2 weeks.


Isotretinoin by oral route:  0.5-0.7 milligrams per kilogram daily or 0.25-0.4 milligrams per kilogram daily (low-dose) for one out of every four weeks.

Acute promyelocytic leukemia

All-trans retinoic acid by oral route: 45 milligrams per square meter of body surface area daily.


  • For breast cancer: 1,000-6,000 milligrams of Retinol® and 3,000 IU-10,000 IU of Retinol® has been taken daily.
  • For cancer of the stomach and intestine: 5,000 IU and 50,000 IU have been administered in weekly doses.
  • For cancer-related side effects: weekly injections of 100,000 IU of Retinol® have been used.
  • For cervical cancer: Retinol® supplementation (dosing information was lacking) was taken for 1-3 years.
  • For colorectal cancer: 25,000 IU of Retinol® in combination with 30 milligrams of beta-carotene has been taken once daily for up to seven years with a lack of effect.
  • For lung cancer: 20-50 milligrams of beta-carotene was taken by mouth daily or every other day for 5-12 years.
  • For skin cancer: 100,000 IU of Retinol® was taken daily by mouth for 18 months.


Etretinate (Retinol® form) by oral route: 0.5 milligrams per kilogram daily for four weeks then reduced to 0.25 milligrams per kilogram daily if there was a lack of improvement or if side effects were observed.

HIV support

A large dose of Retinol® (400,000 IU in adults and 50,000 IU in infants) was given to women and infants shortly after birth for two years.

What is the dose of Retinol® (Vitamin A) for a child?

The recommended dietary allowance

  • 0-6 months: 400 mcg/day (1333 U/day).
  • 6-12 months: 500 mcg/day (1666 U/day).
  • 1-3 years: 300 mcg/day (1000 U/day).
  • 3-8 years: 400 mcg/day (1333 U/day).
  • 8-13 years: 600 mcg/day (2000 U/day).
  • 13-18 years: 900 mcg/day (3000 U/day).

Dry eye

Oral route:

  • 200,000 IU daily immediately on diagnosis.
  • 200,000 IU on the following day.
  • Then 200,000 IU prior to discharge, or if clinical deterioration occurs, or 2-4 weeks later.
  • Infants under 12 months of age and very small and very-low-weight children should be given half the dosage.

Acute promyelocytic leukemia

All-trans retinoic acid by oral route: 25-45 milligrams daily until complete remission or for up to two years in combination with cancer therapy.


Retinol® by oral route: 3,000 micrograms daily for two months.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature infants

Oral route: 2,000 IU every other day or 4,000 IU three times weekly.

Childhood growth promotion

60 milligrams of Retinol® (Vitamin A) has been taken in one to six doses separated by 4-6 months, for 12-104 weeks.


Oral route: 200,000 IU daily for two days for children with measles who live in areas of Retinol® deficiency, and infants with measles, 100,000 IU daily for two days.

HIV support

A large dose of Retinol® (400,000 IU in adults and 50,000 IU in infants) was given to women and infants shortly after birth for two years.

How is Retinol® (Vitamin A) available?

Retinol® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Capsule: 7,500, 8000, 10,000, 25,000 Units.
  • Tablets: 10,000, 15,000 Units.
  • Retinol® are available as gels, creams, and liquids.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services (115) or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Retinol®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: November 20, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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