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Systematic (IUPAC) name
6-[3-(1-adamantyl)-4-methoxy-phenyl] naphthalene-2-carboxylic acid
Clinical data
  • C
Routes of
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability Very low
Excretion Biliary
CAS Number 106685-40-9
ATC code D10AD03 (WHO)
PubChem CID 60164
DrugBank APRD00780
ChemSpider 54244
Chemical data
Formula C28H28O3
Molar mass 412.52 g/mol[[Script error: No such module "String".]]
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Adapalene is a third-generation topical retinoid primarily used in the treatment of mild-moderate acne and is also used (off-label) to treat keratosis pilaris as well as other skin conditions.[1] Adapalene is marketed by Galderma under the trade names Differin in some countries, Adaferin in India, and Epiduo. Epiduo also contains benzoyl peroxide.[2]


Adapalene is indicated for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. It is possibly more effective than tretinoin 0.025% gel in the treatment of acne vulgaris.[citation needed]


Adapalene was approved in 1996 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the treatment of acne.[citation needed]


Adapalene is applied once daily, after washing and before retiring. In some circumstances, when a patient complains of skin irritation, the application may be decreased to once every other day until the irritation ceases. The prescribing doctor may also recommend washing the applied areas with soap and water a specified period after usage to reduce irritation.[citation needed]

Available forms

In the United States, adapalene is available under the brand name Differin in three different preparations: 0.1% cream, 0.1% gel, and 0.3% gel.[3] In Europe, only the 0.1% cream and 0.1% gel are available. In Pakistan, adapalene is available under the brand names Clear by Saffron Pharmaceuticals and Gallet by Pharma Health Pakistan, both of these are in the form of 0.1% cream. In India it it available under the trade name Adelene with 0.1 % Adapalene and 1 % Clindamycin phosphate.[citation needed]


Drug interactions

Adapalene has been shown to enhance the efficacy of topical clindamycin, although adverse effects are also increased.[4] Application of adapalene gel to the skin 3–5 minutes before application of clindamycin enhances penetration of clindamycin into the skin, which may enhance the overall efficacy of the treatment as compared to clindamycin alone.[5]

Unlike tretinoin (Retin-A), adapalene has also been shown to retain its efficacy when applied at the same time as benzoyl peroxide due to its more stable chemical structure.[6]


Adapalene in small concentrations is a moderator of cellular differentiation, keratinization, and inflammatory processes. It has both exfoliating and anti-inflammatory effects. The exact mode of action of adapalene is unknown.


Adapalene is applied topically to the skin, and its absorption into the blood through this medium is very low. Only trace amounts of adapalene have been found in the plasma of chronically treated patients.[citation needed]


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External links


fr:Adapalène it:Adapalene nl:Adapaleen ja:アダパレン pl:Adapalen

  1. Rolewski S (2003). "Clinical review: topical retinoids". Dermatol Nurs. 15 (5): 447–50, 459–65. PMID 14619325. 
  2. (Patient Drug Information,, August 2009)
  3. About Differin
  4. Wolf JE, Kaplan D, Kraus SJ; et al. (2003). "Efficacy and tolerability of combined topical treatment of acne vulgaris with adapalene and clindamycin: a multicenter, randomized, investigator-blinded study". J Am Acad Dermatol. 49 (3 Suppl): S211–7. doi:10.1067/S0190-9622(03)01152-6. PMID 12963897. 
  5. Jain GK, Ahmed FJ (2007). "Adapalene pretreatment increases follicular penetration of clindamycin: in vitro and in vivo studies". Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 73 (5): 326–9. doi:10.4103/0378-6323.34010. PMID 17921613. 
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