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This chapter will be most useful after having a basic understanding of the material in Chapter 65, Dermatological Pharmacology in Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 12th Edition. In addition to the material presented here, the 12th Edition contains:

  • A detailed description of the structures of the skin and their pharmacological implications

  • A discussion of antimicrobial therapy of skin disorders

  • A discussion of the use of cytotoxic and immunosuppressive drugs in the treatment of skin disorders

  • Tables 65-4 and 65-5 which are a listing of topical and systemic retinoids, respectively

  • Chemical structures of drugs used to treat dermatological disorders


  • Understand how drugs are absorbed through the skin.

  • Know the mechanisms of action, therapeutic uses, and toxicities of topical and systemic drugs used to treat dermatological disorders.

  • Know the principles of photochemotherapy of dermatological disorders.

  • Know the science behind the use of sunscreen agents.


  • Acitretin (SORIATANE)

  • Adalimumab (HUMIRA)

  • Adapalene (DIFFERIN)

  • Alefacept (AMEVIVE)

  • Alitretinoin (9-cis-retinoic acid) (PANRETIN)

  • Aminolevulinic acid (ALA, LEVULAN KERASTICK)

  • Azathioprine (IMURAN, others)

  • Azelaic acid (AZELEX, FINACEA)

  • Benzyl alcohol

  • Bexarotene (TARGRETIN)

  • Bleomycin (BLENOXANE)

  • Calcipotriene (DOVONEX, others)

  • Capsaicin (ZOSTRIX, CAPSIN)

  • Carmustine (BICNU)

  • Chloroquine (ARALEN, others)

  • Crotamiton (EURAX)

  • Cyclophosphamide

  • Cyclosporine (NEORAL, GENGRAF, others)

  • Dapsone (diaminodiphenylsulfone, DDS)

  • Denileukin Diftitox (ONTAK)

  • Doxorubicin (DOXIL, CAELYX)

  • Efalizumab (RAPTIVA)

  • Etanercept (ENBREL)

  • Finasteride (PROPECIA, others)

  • Fluorouracil (CARAC, others)

  • Hydroquinone (TRI-LUMA)

  • Hydroxychloroquine (PLAQUENIL, others)

  • Imiquimod (ALDARA)

  • Infliximab (REMICADE)

  • Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) (ACCUTANE)

  • Ivermectin (STOMECTOL)

  • Lindane

  • Malathion (OVIDE)

  • Mechlorethamine (MUSTARGEN)

  • Mequinol (SOLAGE, in combination with tretinoin and vitamin C)

  • Methotrexate (RHEUMATRIX)

  • Methoxsalen (OXSORALEN, others)—not marketed in the United States

  • Methylaminolevulinate (MAL, VETVIXIA)

  • Minoxidil (ROGAINE, others)

  • Monobenzone (BENOQUIN)

  • Mycophenolate mofetil (CELLCEPT)

  • Permethrin (KLOUT shampoo)

  • Pimecrolimus (ELIDEL)

  • Podophyllin (podophyllum resin)

  • Quinacrine (ATABRINE)

  • Retapamulin (ALTABAX)

  • Retinol (vitamin A)

  • Tacrolimus (FK506, PROTOPIC)

  • Tazarotene (TAZORAC, others)

  • Thalidomide (TALOMID)

  • Tretinoin (all trans-retinoic acid; vitamin A acid) (ATRALIN, others)

  • Triamcinolone acetonide (KENALOG-10)

  • Triamcinolone hexacetonide (ARISTOSPAN)

  • Vinblastine (VELBAN)

aDrugs included in this chapter have specific dermatological uses. Antibiotics used to treat acne are listed in the Side Bar ANTIBIOTICS USED TO TREAT ACNE. Antimicrobials used to treat cutaneous infections are discussed in the cases; the pharmacology of specific drugs can be found in Chapters 35, 39, 40, 41, 43, and 44. Sunscreen agents are listed in the Table SUNSCREEN AGENTS.


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