Categorized | Nodular Acne

Accutane Drug Review – Accutane Side Effects and Dosage

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Drug trade name- Accutane, Claravis, Amnesteem, Sotret

Generic name- Isotretinoin

Group- Miscellaneous Antineoplastics or Miscellaneous Uncategorized Agents

Introduction and Quick Information about Accutane:

Accutane is a prescribed medication used for the treatment of severe nodular acne. It is generally taken when some other acne antibiotics or medicines are not able to provide relief from the acne symptoms. Accutane is of the common types of vitamin A. This medication has the capability to minimize the quantity of oil released by the oil glands (sebaceous glands) inside the skin, and also helps the skin to renew itself rapidly.

Accutane can also correct the abnormal keratinization (which results in the buildup of cells inside the hair follicles), a problem which can contribute to the formation of acne. This medication can prove to be very effective, with long-lasting effects after a single fifteen or twenty week course.

Is Accutane Approved by FDA?

Yes, FDA (Food and Drug Adminstration) had given its approval to Accutane for the long-term treatment of severe nodular acne.

Usage and Benefits of Accutane:

Accutane® (isotretinoin) is one of the effectual prescription acne medications available in the market. This medication is reserved for those individuals with severe nodular acne which has not responded well to certain other kinds of treatments. Acne has many types and the most common forms are:

  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Pustules
  • Papules
  • Cysts
  • Nodules

Accutane is licensed to treat the last form i.e. the nodular acne, which is one of the most severe kinds. Nodules are painful, large and solid lesions that are lodged deep inside your skin. Your dermatologist may recommend you the use of Accutane if other acne treatments do not work.

Note- this medication can lead to birth defects. So it is important that you should not be pregnant or plan to get pregnant while taking Accutane.

Accutane is approved to be used in kids who are at least 12 years old, although it  is thought that it may lead to bone thinning (which can further result in osteoporosis) when taken by children or teens. Consult your child’s health specialist about the risks and advantages of taking Accutane in children.

At times, the doctors may prescribe Accutane to treat some other conditions except acne. This is termed as “off-label” use. Accutane can be sometimes used off-label as chemotherapy for the treatment of certain kinds of cancers as well.

Accutane Side Effects:

A few bothersome side effects associated with Accutane include water retention, nausea, and fatigue. Although these sorts of adverse effects are not generally dangerous and quite simple to treat also, the medicine can lead to potentially serious conditions. Notify your medical advisor immediately in case you observe any serious Accutane side effects,

  • Depressed Mood
  • crying spells
  • sleep problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • agitation or aggression
  • hallucinations
  • thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide
  • changes in behavior
  • sudden weakness or numbness
  • severe and sudden pain or headache behind the eyes
  • blurred vision
  • hearing problems
  • ringing in the ears
  • seizure (convulsions)
  • hearing loss
  • vomiting and nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • severe pain in your upper stomach
  • fast heart rate
  • clay-colored stools
  • dark urine
  • jaundice
  • severe diarrhea
  • rectal bleeding
  • black, tarry, or bloody stools
  • fever
  • chills
  • purple spots under the skin
  • easy bleeding or bruising
  • body aches
  • flu symptoms
  • joint stiffness
  • feeling drowsy, dizzy, or nervous
  • severe peeling, blistering, and red skin rash
  • back pain
  • bone fracture or pain
  • rash, or itching
  • joint pain
  • dryness of mouth, lips, skin, or nose
  • changes in the toenails or fingernails
  • peeling or cracking skin

General Recommended Dosages of Accutane:

Always bear one point in your mind that to get positive effects from your treatment, you have to follow the medication on prescribed time and in prescribed amounts. If we talk about Accutane, take this medication in the exact amount recommended by your general practitioner.  Never take it in smaller or larger amounts than recommended.

Every prescription of Accutane should be filled within seven days of the date your doctor prescribed it for you. You will get merely a thirty-day supply of Accutane at one time.

You need to take Accutane with one complete glass of water in order to prevent capsule from melting in your food pipe (esophagus), resulting in irritation.

Do not suck on or chew the capsule; just swallow it quickly. Take this medication with milk or food. Take this drug for the proper and complete length of time suggested by your physician. Your acne might appear to be worse initially, but then should start improving.

To make sure this drug is not causing any damaging effects to your body; your doctor will ask you for proper blood tests.

Never share Accutane with someone else, even if he/she has the same symptoms which you have. Store Accutane away from heat, moisture, and light and keep it at room temperature.

In case I Miss my Dose?

In case you forget to take the required drug on the prescribed time, then just skip the previously missed dosage and take the medication at your next scheduled time. Also, never try to take any extra drug in order to compensate for the missed Accutane dose.

In case I Take Overdose?

Symptoms of Accutane overdose may include dizziness, headache, warmth, vomiting, stomach pain, swelling of the lips, tingling under the skin, and loss of coordination or balance. Look for the emergency medical assistance if you think you have taken the medicine in extra amounts or for more than recommended.

Drug Interactions of Accutane:

When some specific medicines are taken along with Accutane, interactions can be occurred and can also lead to potentially serious side effects. For instance, some drug interactions may increase your risk of osteoporosis or cause a certain kind of high blood pressure in head. Some medications which can negatively interact with Accutane include:

  • seizure medicines like phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • steroids (prednisone, etc)
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek)
  • tetracycline antibiotics like demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), doxycycline (Vibramycin, Doryx), or tetracycline (Tetracap, Sumycin, Brodspec)
  • Progestin-only “mini pill” birth control medications like Errin, Ortho Micronor,  or Jolivette
  • Vitamin A
  • St. John’s wort

This list is not a complete one and some other medications may interact with Accutane. Inform your general practitioner about all drugs you take, including the over-the-counter, prescription, herbal, and vitamin products.


Life style and Food Habits you must Follow when on Accutane:

Do not use this drug in case you are allergic towards parabens or isotretinoin or if you are expecting or planning to get pregnant.

To get the positive benefits from Accutane, inform your physician if you have any of the below-mentioned conditions:

  • family or personal history of mental illness or depression
  • heart disease
  • high triglycerides or cholesterol
  • intestinal disorder like inflammatory ulcerative colitis, bowel disease, or Crohn’s disease
  • osteoporosis
  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • liver disease
  • eating disorder (anorexia nervosa)

Never take vitamin supplements which include vitamin A while using Accutane.

Also, don’t donate blood while using Accutane. Donating blood to a pregnant woman can cause birth defects in her baby.

Don’t use the wax hair removers or have laser skin treatments or dermabrasion while taking Accutane, or else, scarring may result.

Avoid too much exposure to artificial UV rays (tanning beds or sunlamps) or sunlight. Accutane may make your skin very sensitive to sunlight, which further result in sunburn. Accutane may also impair your vision, particularly at night. So you need to be more careful while you are driving.

How Safe is Accutane for Pregnant Women or Nursing mothers?

Accutane can lead to life-threatening, severe birth defects if the women take this drug during pregnancy. Even single Accutane dosage can result in major birth defects of the baby’s eyes, ears, face, skull, brain, and heart. Thus, never take Accutane if you are pregnant. Even females who have had their tubes tied have to stop the use of birth control or contraceptives while using Accutane.

Your pregnancy test must be negative 30 days prior to starting using Accutane. This sort of test is also required whenever it’s the time to refill your prescription, immediately you take the last Accutane dose, and 30 days later again.

You must be agreed in writing to follow 2 specific kinds of birth control starting 30 days before you begin to take Accutane and ending 30 days after you quit using it. Both a secondary and a primary form of birth control have to be taken together.

It is not known whether this drug may pass to the breast milk and can do harm to the nursed baby or not. Thus, tell your doctor in advance if you breast-feed.

Complications and Conditions Possible due to Prolonged use of Accutane:

Though this medication is meant for the long-term use, it may or may not cause habit-forming ability. Thus, if you want to discontinue this drug, for any reason, just check with your doctor. If you have been using Accutane since long, then quitting its use may cause some withdrawal symptoms. So ask your medical advisor when and how you have to stop its use.

Availability of the Accutane:

Accutane is available only under one of the special programs known as IPLEDGE. You have to be registered in that program and sign documents which state that you have understood the dangers of this drug and you agree to make the use birth of control as needed by the program. It can prove to be dangerous to try and buy Accutane from the Internet or from vendors outside of U.S. Just buy it from the authorized or FDA-approved medicine stores.