Document Type : Review Article


Department of Dermatology, Rasoul Akram Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Nowadays, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become a global health problem and, given the high mortality and transmission rate of this infection and the lack of approved or specific treatments for it so far, the exploitation of the potentials of existing drugs is of paramount importance, hence, we aimed to investigate all possible COVID-19-related mechanisms of systemic retinoids.
We systematically searched all related evidence in various data bases about the effect of retinoic acids on respiratory failure as the most important COVID-19-related complication and the other important potentials of this drug to affect COVID pathomechanism. Considering the various behaviors and presentations of this virus in different people, paying attention to the underlying diseases, physical conditions, genetics, and medications that cause these differences may be helpful in reducing the mortality and morbidity of the disease. In the field of dermatology, retinoids are a group of drugs that have controversial evidence regarding their effects when administered to patients with COVID-19.
On one hand, these drugs offer immunomodulatory, immuneenhancing, antiviral, and antiangiogenesis activity, and can stimulate the differentiation and repair of epithelial cells. On the other hand, they can increase inflammation and cause the fragility of oral and nasal mucosae. When prescribe systemic retinoids, all of these aspects should be considered in all fields of the medicine and dermatology is not an exception.