Epiduo Forte

Epiduo Forte treats acne. Can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and may cause you to sunburn more easily. Avoid sunlight. If you are going to be outside, wear sunscreen and protective clothing

Epiduo Forte Overview

Reviewed: July 20, 2015

Epiduo Forte is a prescription medication used to treat acne in people over 12 years old. This topical gel contains two drugs. Adapalene belongs to a group of drugs called retinoid-like compounds, which prevent inflammation. Benzoyl peroxide belongs to a group of drugs called nitrogen binding agents, which kill acne-causing bacteria and remove dead skin cells.

This medication comes in gel form and is applied to the affected skin once a day.

Common side effects include redness and dryness. Epiduo Forte will increase your sensitivity to the sun.

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Uses of Epiduo Forte

Epiduo Forte is a prescription medicine used to treat acne in people 12 years of age and older. 

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Adapalene and benzoyl peroxide

For more information on this medication choose from the list of selections below.

Epiduo Forte Drug Class

Epiduo Forte is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Epiduo Forte

Serious side effects have been reported with Epiduo Forte. See the "Epiduo Forte Precautions" section. 

Common side effects include skin reactions where this medication is applied such as:

  • redness
  • dryness
  • swelling
  • scaling
  • stinging or burning

Local skin reactions are most likely to happen during the first 4 weeks of treatment and usually lessen with continued use of  Epiduo Forte gel. Tell your doctor right away if these side effects continue for longer than 4 weeks or get worse, you may have to stop using Epiduo Forte.

These are not all the possible side effects of Epiduo Forte. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. 

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Epiduo Forte Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you use other potentially irritating skin products (medicated or abrasive soaps and cleansers, soaps and cosmetics that have strong skin-drying effect and products with high concentrations of alcohol, astringents, spices, or limes). 

This is not a complete list of Epiduo Forte drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Epiduo Forte Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Epiduo Forte including the following:

  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight, including sunlamps, should be minimized. Use sunscreen products and protective apparel, (e.g., hat) when sun exposure cannot be avoided. Weather extremes, such as wind or cold, may also be irritating. 
  • Skin reactions such as redness (erythema), scaling, dryness, and stinging/burning. These are most likely to occur during the first four weeks of treatment, are mostly mild to moderate in intensity, and usually lessen with continued use of the medication. An irritant and allergic skin rash (contact dermatitis) may occur. 

Do not use Epiduo Forte if you are allergic to Epiduo Forte or any of its ingredients. 


Epiduo Forte Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Epiduo Forte, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication. 

Inform MD

Before using Epiduo Forte, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to Epiduo Forte or to any of its ingredients
  • have other skin problems, including cuts or sunburn
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Epiduo Forte can harm your unborn baby. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Epiduo Forte passes into your breast milk and if it can harm your baby. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you use Epiduo Forte.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. 

Epiduo Forte and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Epiduo Forte falls into category C. No studies have been done in animals, and no well-controlled studies have been done in pregnant women. Epiduo Forte should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed. 

Epiduo Forte and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. 

It is not known if Epiduo Forte crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Epiduo Forte.

Epiduo Forte Usage

Use Epiduo Forte exactly as your doctor tells you to use it.

  • Epiduo is for skin use only. Do not use Epiduo in or on your mouth, eyes, or vagina.
  • Apply Epiduo Forte one time a day.
  • Do not use more Epiduo Forte than you need to cover the treatment area. Using too much Epiduo Forte or using it more than one time a day may increase your chance of skin irritation. Using it more often will not produce faster results, but may increase irritation.
  • Minimize exposure to sunlight, including sunlamps. The use of sunscreen products and protective apparel, (e.g., hat) is recommended when exposure cannot be avoided.
  • Avoid weather extremes such as wind and cold as this may cause irritation to your skin.
  • Avoid applying Epiduo Forte to cuts, abrasions and sunburned skin.
  • Avoid skin products that may dry or irritate your skin such as harsh soaps, astringents, cosmetics that have strong skin- drying effects and products containing high levels of alcohol.
  • Avoid the use of “waxing” as a hair removal method on skin treated with Epiduo Forte.
  • Epiduo Forte may bleach your clothes or hair. Allow Epiduo Forte to dry completely before dressing to prevent bleaching of your clothes.

Applying Epiduo Forte:

  • Wash the area where the gel will be applied with a mild or soapless cleanser and pat dry.
  • Epiduo Forte gel comes in a pump. Depress the pump to dispense a small amount (about the size of a pea) of Epiduo Forte gel and spread a thin layer over the affected area.
  • Wash your hands after applying the gel.  

Epiduo Forte Dosage

Use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. 

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • how you respond to the medication
  • the size of the affected area

The recommended use of Epiduo Forte for the treatment of acne is applying a thin film of gel to affected areas of the face and/or trunk once daily after washing. Use a pea-sized amount for each area of the face (e.g., forehead, chin, each cheek). Avoid the eyes, lips and mucous membranes.

Epiduo Forte Overdose

If you use too much Epiduo Forte, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away. 

Other Requirements

  • Store Epiduo Forte at room temperature, 68° to 77° F (20° to 25° C).
  • Keep Epiduo Forte inside its container and out of light and away from heat.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.