ATC Group: D10AD Retinoids for topical use in acne

The World Health Organization's ATC classification organizes medical drugs based on therapeutic properties, chemical composition, and anatomy. It helps make essential medicines readily available globally and is widely used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Position of D10AD in the ATC hierarchy

Level Code Title
1 D Dermatologicals
2 D10 Anti-acne preparations
3 D10A Anti-acne preparations for topical use
4 D10AD Retinoids for topical use in acne

Group D10AD contents

Code Title
D10AD01 Tretinoin
D10AD02 Retinol
D10AD03 Adapalene
D10AD04 Isotretinoin
D10AD05 Motretinide
D10AD51 Tretinoin, combinations
D10AD53 Adapalene, combinations
D10AD54 Isotretinoin, combinations

Active ingredients in D10AD

Active Ingredient Description

Adapalene is a retinoid-like compound which in, in vivo and in vitro models of inflammation, has been demonstrated to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Mechanically, adapalene binds like tretinoin to specific retinoic acid nuclear receptors but, unlike tretinoin not to cytosolic receptor binding proteins. Adapalene is used in the treatment of acne and is also used (off-label) to treat keratosis pilaris as well as other skin conditions.


Isotretinoin is a stereoisomer of all-trans retinoic acid (tretinoin). The exact mechanism of action of isotretinoin has not yet been elucidated in detail, but it has been established that the improvement observed in the clinical picture of severe acne is associated with suppression of sebaceous gland activity and a histologically demonstrated reduction in the size of the sebaceous glands. Furthermore, a dermal anti-inflammatory effect of isotretinoin has been established.


Tretinoin decreases cohesiveness of follicular epithelial cells resulting in decreased microcomedone formation. Additionally, tretinoin stimulates mitotic activity and increased turnover of follicular epithelial cells, causing extrusion of the comedones.


Trifarotene is an agonist of retinoic acid receptors (RAR), with particular activity at the gamma subtype of RAR. Stimulation of RAR results in modulation of target genes which are associated with various processes, including cell differentiation and mediation of inflammation. Trifarotene cream is used for the topical treatment of acne vulgaris.

Related product monographs

Title Information Source Document Type  
AKLIEF Cream FDA, National Drug Code (US) MPI, US: SPL/PLR
DIFFERIN Cream Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (GB) MPI, EU: SmPC
EPIDUO Gel Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (NZ) MPI, EU: SmPC
ISOTRETINOIN Capsules, soft Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (GB) MPI, EU: SmPC
RETIN-A Cream / Gel FDA, National Drug Code (US) MPI, US: SPL/Old
STIEVA-A Cream Health Products and Food Branch (CA) MPI, CA: SPM