NEW YORK — A new drug for psoriasis is closely related to the acne drug Accutane and is probably even more likely to produce birth defects when taken by pregnant women, the New York Times reported today.
The newspaper said at least seven babies have been born with defects to women who had taken Tegison, although no cases have been recorded in the United States.
The paper said experts have called for restrictions on the distribution of Tegison similar to those suggested for Accutane last week by the Food and Drug Administration.
Tegison, whose generic name is etretinate, can remain dormant in bodily tissues at least two years after it is taken and can cause birth defects long after a woman stops taking it, Dr. Franz Rosa of the FDA told the paper.
Another doctor said that "etretinate is manifold more toxic than Accutane."
Tegison carries a pregnancy warning saying that it has not yet been determined how long a woman must avoid pregnancy after taking the drug.
Tegison is produced in the United States by Roche Laboratories, a subsidiary of F. Hoffman-La Rouche Ltd. of Switzerland. Roche also makes Accutane.