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Acitretin-associated erectile dysfunction: a case report

Marco Rossi12* and Michele Pellegrino3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology "Giorgio Segre", University of Siena, Strada delle Scotte 6, 53100 Siena, Italy

2 Tuscan Regional Center for Pharmacovigilance, Florence, Italy

3 Department of Dermatological Sciences, Department of Clinical Medicine and Immunological Sciences, University of Siena, Policlinico S. Maria alle Scotte, 53100 Siena, Italy

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Cases Journal 2009, 2:210  doi:10.1186/1757-1626-2-210

Published: 19 November 2009



Two cases of impotence following a treatment with etretinate have been reported in the literature. Acitretin is the principal active metabolite of etretinate. We report a case of erectile dysfunction associated with the use of acitretin.

Case presentation

A 39-year-old Caucasian man referred his incapacity to reach and maintain a penile erection during a course of acitretin for the treatment of a severe form of psoriasis. Physical examination, laboratory findings and psychological analysis did not reveal any abnormalities. Two weeks after the withdrawal of acitretin, the patient reported a normalization of his sexual activity.


Retinoids have been associated with male reproductive system dysfunctions in human and animal studies. Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of acitretin-induced erectile dysfunction.