Accutane is used to treat severe cystic acne (also known as nodular acne) that has not responded to other treatment (e.g., benzoyl peroxide or clindamycin applied to the skin or tetracycline or minocycline taken by mouth).

About Accutane

Accutane belongs to a class of drugs known as retinoids. It works by decreasing facial oil (sebum) production. High amounts of sebum can lead to severe acne. If left untreated, severe acne may cause permanent scarring. Accutane is a derivative of vitamin A that is found in the bloodstream of all people. The active substance of the drug is called isotretinoin. It is a retinoid, which decreases the amount of sebum secreted by the sebaceous glands in the skin, thus helping itto become clearer. The medicationis prescribed for severe acne treatmentmanifestedbynodules and cystic lesions. It is usually given after the patient has failed to respond tolight-based therapies, antibiotics, and other acne treatments.

How to use Accutane

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using isotretinoin and each time you get a refill. Read and sign a Patient Information/Informed Consent form before you start taking this medication. If you have any questions about isotretinoin, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking the medication.

Swallow capsules whole. Do not crush or chew them. Isotretinoin is usually taken twice daily for 15-20 weeks, or as directed by your doctor. Directions for most generic forms of isotretinoin state that it should be taken with meals. However, the FDA has indicated that the Absorica brand may be taken with or without food. Food helps increase absorption of this drug into your bloodstream. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. Take this drug with a full glass of water, and do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking it.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.Your acne may worsen during the first few days of taking this drug, and it may take up to 1-2 months before you notice the full benefit of this medication. If severe acne returns, a second course of treatment may be started after you have stopped taking the drug for 2 months. The manufacturer does not recommend long-term use of isotretinoin. Do not take more than the recommended dose.

Since this drug can be absorbed through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from the capsules.

Who should not use Accutane (Isotretinoin)?

It should not be used by pregnant women, as well as by women during lactation. This anti-acne agent is considered harmful mainly because its most insidious side reaction is a teratogenic effect: an overdose of retinoids when taken orally in pregnant women can cause severe fetal development disorders.

In addition, there are also temporary side effects of isotretinoin: they include dry skin and lips, hair loss, soreness, itching, rash, skin irritation, photosensitization (increased sensitivity of the skin to the sun), severe peeling of the skin of the palms and hands, as well as yellowing of the skin.

If the drug is taken orally, this substance can trigger more serious systemic side effects: strong headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, changes in mood, depression, mild bleeding from the nose, bowel problems, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, decreased night vision, constant dry eyes, calcium deposits in tendons, and high cholesterol levels.

Side effects of Accutane:

Important things to remember about the side effects of accutane:

The following side effects are common (occurring in more than 30%) for patients taking accutane:

These are less common side effects (occurring in 10-29%) for patients receiving accutane:

Rare but serious possible side effects of accutane:

Not all side effects are listed above, some that are rare (occurring in less than 10% of patients) are not listed here. However, you should always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.

When to contact your doctor or health care provider:

Contact your health care provider immediately, day or night, if you should experience any of the following symptoms:

The following symptoms require medical attention, but are not emergency situations. Contact your health care provider within 24 hours of noticing any of the following:

Always inform your health care provider if you experience any unusual symptoms.


Self-care tips: