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Country
  • United Kingdom
Brand
  • Roaccutane
Strength
  • 10mg
  • 20mg
Name Country Strength Pack Size USD Cart
Roaccutane - isotretinoin - 10mg - 30 Capsules Accutane/​Roaccutane isotretinoin Brand United Kingdom 10mg 30 Capsules DR $54.78 Add
Roaccutane - isotretinoin - 20mg - 30 Capsules Accutane/​Roaccutane isotretinoin Brand United Kingdom 20mg 30 Capsules DR $95.14 Add

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.

Roaccutane (isotretinoin) is a retinoid, or vitamin A derivative, predominantly used to treat severe acne. More rarely it may sometimes be used to treat other skin conditions and some types of cancer.

This medication has proven very effective, eliminating severe acne in around 80 percent of patients. It is a relatively long process, however---it is usually taken for 4 to 6 months---and acne may become worse during the first few weeks of treatment. It also carries risk of some severe side effects.

Roaccutane is not advisable in children below age 13, as it can produce permanent side effects, such as stunted growth. Use in patients age 13-18 is best determined by a doctor. Women who are trying to become pregnant, are pregnant, or are breastfeeding should not take this medication.

Should Roaccutane be Taken?

Most retinoids come as a gel or other topical solution, applied directly to the problem area. Roaccutane is different; available in tablets, it is taken orally and, unlike topical treatments, has access to the entire body. This makes the medication more potent, but also makes side effects more likely and potentially more serious.

Because of the increased potency and risk of side effects, Roaccutane is restricted to severe acne cases. This is generally described as having pimples or cysts consistently present as well as scarring from previous lesions. This is much easier said than identified, however; for best treatment results, a doctor should examine the patient and determine whether Roaccutane tablets, a gel, or something else entirely is best suited. Teenagers in particular should see a doctor before starting treatment.

Adults have a little more leeway, though the vast majority have tried other acne treatments---including retinoid gels---prior to turning to Roaccutane. The medication is so effective because it:

  • Reduces sebum (oil) production
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces bacteria
  • Clears clogged pores

As mentioned above, Roaccutane is effective in around 80 percent of patients, or 4 out of 5 patients. Those are good odds! After acne is cleared up---usually in 4 to 6 months---it stays gone for several months to permanently. It is easy to understand why severe acne sufferers are drawn to this medication.

However, it is not suitable for all. This medication should be avoided completely in patients who:

  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have severe liver disease
  • Have high blood cholesterol

Patients should speak with a doctor before starting treatment if:

  • Taking vitamin A supplements
  • Taking tetracycline antibiotics
  • Taking any other acne treatment
  • Any major medical conditions are present
  • There is a history of mental health disorders

While, again, this medication works quite well, all patients should, ideally, speak with a doctor before using it---particularly those with any of the circumstances listed above.

General Treatment Overview

It is difficult to give broadly applicable dosage guidelines for this medication, as in most cases a doctor will determine dosage and duration of treatment---both of which may change as treatment progresses. Age, weight, and other personal factors also influence dosage. A very rough overview is:

  • Dose ranges from 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg per kg of body weight each day. Note that 2 mg doses are rare, and usually reserved for severe acne on the trunk.
  • Daily doses are typically divided into two doses, taken twice per day, though doctor instructions may vary.
  • Treatment typically lasts 4 to 6 months. If acne is not significantly improved by the 6 month mark, additional treatment is very unlikely to help.
  • Treatment sometimes starts with lower doses, gradually increased. This helps the body adjust with fewer side effects.
  • Acne may worsen for two to four weeks after starting treatment. While it may be embarrassing, it indicates the medication is working and acne should begin clearing after four weeks.
  • Missed doses should be skipped entirely. Never take a double dose to compensate for a skipped dose.

A patient's best chance for an effective treatment plan is to consult a doctor. Patients unwilling to do so should perform their own research on Roaccutane---beyond reading this article---and also read the insert included with the medication.

Potential Side Effects

Roaccutane can remain in the bloodstream for up to 30 days following the last tablet taken. All patients should make sure that all doctors and dentists are informed that Roaccutane is or was being taken for 30 days after treatment ends. All patients should avoid donating blood during treatment and for 30 days after treatment ends.

Women must avoid becoming pregnant during treatment and for 30 days after treatment ends. If pregnancy is discovered during treatment, stop taking the medication and seek medical attention. As little as one dose of Roaccutane can cause severe birth defects, miscarriage, premature birth, or death of the baby shortly after birth.

Technically Roaccutane is present in semen, but in such small amounts that it is not considered harmful. In general men are advised they do not need to worry about intercourse and Roaccutane, though some doctors may advise men to avoid trying to impregnate a partner or unprotected intercourse with a pregnant partner.

Roaccutane can produce a range of side effects, from mild to very severe. Most patients---assuming the medication is not misused---will only experience milder side effects. The most common complaint with this product is severe dryness, which can produce:

  • Dry nose or nosebleed
  • Dry, chapped, or cracked lips
  • Dry, cracking, or peeling skin
  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • Itching
  • Mild hair loss
  • Brittle or otherwise changed fingernails or toenails

All of the above are not cause for concern unless severe. Some will stop occurring in the first few weeks of treatment as the body adjusts. Dry skin can be alleviated with lotions or other moisturizers. A doctor can often suggest other products to help address a particular issue.

More serious side effects are relatively rare, but if experienced they call for stopping treatment and seeking medical attention:

  • Seizures
  • Severe blistering, peeling, or redness of skin
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Severe mood or behavioral changes
  • Severe stomach or bowel problems
  • Any other severe symptom

The above really should not ignored. If addressed early they can usually be fully resolved; waiting too long can lead to permanent conditions or, in very rare cases, death.

Always double check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medication or supplement with Roaccutane. Those not medically necessary are best avoided entirely throughout treatment.

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