Oral retinoids, (Roaccutane and Neotigason), are systemic agents derived from vitamin A that are most frequently used for treating severe acne and extensive psoriasis.
A review of randomised controlled trials in transplant patients who are well known to be at high risk of non-melanoma skin tumours showed that they can help prevent the development of new basal cell carcinomas but have a much larger effect on squamous cell carcinoma prevention. For this reason they are uncommonly used to prevent basal cell carcinomas. Further studies are needed.
Side effects of retinoids include dry skin, raised lipids (fatty acids) and sometimes bone effects after long term therapy.
Ref: Chen K, Craig JC, Shumack S. Oral retinords for the prevention of skin cancers in sold organ transplant recipients: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Br Journal of Dermatology. 2005 Mar; 152(3): 518-23
Next Review January 2016