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Isotretinoin (trade name: Accutane, Roche) is a powerful drug used in the treatment of acne. Four to five months of isotretinoin treatment usually leads to clearing of acne for one year or more after the medicine is stopped.
What is Accutane?
It is a synthetic vitamin A derivative (13-cis-retinoic acid) which is administered orally in pill form, normally for 15-20 weeks.
How does Accutane clear acne?
Exactly how Accutane works on a cellular level is unknown, but we do know that it affects all of the four ways that acne develops.
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Accutane is considered for severe acne that has failed other treatments. It is a potent medication that is very effective for severe, scarring acne. Is also used for acne present for many years that has not responded to antibiotic pills and creams. Accutane or generic Isotretinoin medications is never a first choice and should never be “shared” or purchased over the internet without the guidelines of a physician.
Accutane "cures" about half of those people who take it so that they never need to do anything else for acne. In the first few weeks of treatment, about one in five patients gets a little worse, and one in 500 patients gets much worse. The rest either get much better, or better for a while. There is no other known drug that comes close to being as effective for severe acne. The usual patient takes it for 4 to 6 months, but some need more and must be "retreated" for an additional 4 to 6 months.
The more Accutane one takes, the greater the chance of long term cessation of acne. Unfortunately, side effects depend on the dose as well. At the lowest doses, there are few side effects, though pregnancy risk is always a critical consideration. At higher does, over-drying can occur. Doses are adjusted to strike a balance between effectiveness and side effects.
FDA approval of Accutane requires all patients taking the drug to register with the iPledge program. The program is designed to ensure that patients avoid pregnancy, and links prescriptions to pregnancy tests.
Accutane may increase the level of blood fats, sometimes to risky levels. This reverts back to normal when the drug is stopped. Occasionally it may affect the liver. Regular blood tests are mandated during Accutane treatment.
The most damaging side effect of Accutane is serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy. It is critically important for women not to take Accutane while pregnant, and not to become pregnant while taking it. View Precautionary Advice from Roche Pharmaceutical.
Women who are, or might be, sexually active while taking Accutane must use an effective method of birth control, of which the birth control pill is the most effective. Birth control pills do rarely fail, so an additional method of birth control such as a condom for the male partner or a spermicidal foam or sponge is also needed.
Should Dr. Sikorski determine you are a candidate for Accutane, the potential benefits, side effects and all requirements will be discussed.
Not sure where to start? Give us a call and chat with our patient coordinator Michelle. Call the office at (949) 448-0487 or Request a callback through this online form.