Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional. Brands and generics both contain the same active ingredient(s) and are medically equivalent. Some brands are marketed under different names by the same manufacturing country depending on the country of origin.
Isotroin (isotretinoin) is a vitamin A derivative predominantly used to treat severe nodular or cystic acne. Less commonly it may be used to treat certain other skin disorders and certain types of cancer.
While most vitamin A derivatives used to treat skin conditions come as topical lotions, Isotroin comes in tablets. While it may produce more significant benefit in tablet form, it also increases risk of side effects---some of which can be severe.
Isotroin is intended for mature adults; use in teenagers is generally avoided, though there are occasionally exceptions. It is also intended for severe acne, and should not be used to treat mild or moderate cases.
Though this medication has its risks, in otherwise healthy adults the risks are often considered worth it when it comes to clear, healthy skin and the reduction of scarring.
Isotroin is very good at eradicating acne when other medications have failed, though it will take around one month before significant results are seen. Acne may worsen in the first few weeks of treatment, but should begin to resolve within one month. Many patients find a single round of Isotroin treatment completely eliminates acne problems, though others will need to occasionally repeat treatment to maintain clear skin.
The medication comes in tablets, which should be taken with food. Tablets should not be chewed or crushed.
Treatment is nearly always twice per day. Once-per-day administration has not been officially studied and, in real-world use, did not produce as significant results.
Dosage is a little more complicated. The lowest effective dose for the shortest duration of time is desired, and other factors such as age and other medical conditions also call for lower dosage.
There are three classifications of dosage, all of which are based on weight:
2 mg per kg of body weight is usually reserved for patients with acne/scarring on the trunk rather than the face. These patients are almost always started on lower doses of 1 mg/kg/day, increased only if needed.
Keep in mind:
Most patients find Isotroin offers an effective solution when others have failed, with significant improvement visible around the 30-day mark. Those who notice no improvement at all after 30 days of use may want to speak with a doctor about alternative options.
The most common side effects associated with Isotroin are mild and not cause for concern unless severe enough to be disruptive:
Though rare, Isotroin is associated with a wide range of much more severe complications.
Isotroin is known to cause severe birth defects in pregnant women. Women should make absolutely sure they're not pregnant prior to starting treatment and use birth control throughout treatment and for 30 days following the end of treatment.
The medication is also present in semen, though it's unclear how damaging it is. To be on the safe side men are also advised to avoid risking pregnancy for the duration of treatment and for 30 days following the end of treatment.
Similarly Isotroin patients should not donate blood for the duration of treatment or for 30 days following the end of treatment.
Though disputed, in the USA Isotroin is loosely connected to increased aggression, suicidal ideation, and other mental health issues. It is also loosely connected with a condition called pseudotumor cerebri, in which there is increased pressure on the brain, which can cause a wide variety of issues.
Less controversial are other potentially severe side effects, which can affect nearly every organ in the body. Fortunately these are rare and, if attending regular doctor checkups, can be monitored for and caught early enough to be resolved without serious issue in most cases.
The literature included with each product contains more information about side effects. Regular doctor checkups are strongly advised.
In the USA, the FDA requires patients prescribed any product containing isotretinoin to sign up with the program iPLEDGE, which informs patients of the many potential side effects associated with these medications as well as tracks the distribution and use of the products. Both genders and all ages are required to sign up with iPLEDGE. USA patients who take Isotroin outside of the iPLEDGE program may be subject to penalties if caught.
It is unlikely that doctors outside of the USA will participate in iPLEDGE, which can cause complications for those who wish to purchase Isotroin from outside sources and also participate in iPLEDGE. USA patients who buy Isotroin from Kiwi Drug and opt to ignore iPLEDGE requirements do so at their own risk. These patients are strongly encouraged to read the literature included with each product for a better understanding of side effects prior to use.