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) is a vitamin A derivative used to
treat severe nodular or cystic acne. It was traditionally given
only when other treatments failed, but has grown in popularity
because of its effectiveness.
Less frequently it is used to combat other skin conditions and
certain types of cancer.
Who Uses Accutane?
Accutane can be used by any adult suffering from severe nodular or
cystic acne. Teenagers are sometimes prescribed Accutane if other
treatments don't work, but are more prone to certain side effects
and require special consideration by a physician.
Where other treatments fail to clear up severe acne, Accutane often
succeeds spectacularly. However, this medication does carry some
risk. Patients should read the information that comes with the
product in entirety before using.
How does it Work?
As Accutane builds up in the system, the size of oil glands and the
amount of oil they produce is greatly reduced. The reduction of oil
also reduces the amount of bacteria in the skin that cause nodular
acne. It also inhibits the production of skin cells inside pores,
which helps prevent clogging, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
How is it Taken?
Accutane comes in capsule or tablet form. Dosage is typically
started low and gradually increased. It is not unusual for dosage
to be adjusted throughout treatment according to patient
It is typically taken twice a day with food and a full glass of
liquid. It should not be chewed or otherwise crushed.
A missed dose should be skipped entirely.
Many patients experience a brief worsening of acne right after
starting treatment. This is normal and will not last. Most patients
see dramatic improvement within 30 days. For many patients the
improvement is permanent, even after treatment stops. About 30% of
patients experience relapses and may need to repeat treatment
Active ingredient: isotretinoin
Inactive ingredients: soybean oil, edetate
disodium, hydrogenated vegetable oil, butylated
hydroxyanisole, hydrogenated soybean oil flakes,
Capsules and tablets additionally contain: glycerin, parabens,
iron oxide, titanium dioxide, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Blue No.
1, FD&C Yellow No. 6, D&C Yellow No. 10
Patients with known hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients
in Accutane should not use this medication.
Adverse Effects and warnings:
This product causes severe birth defects and may result in
premature birth or death of the infant shortly after
. Women should be absolutely certain they are not
pregnant prior to starting treatment, and not try to become
pregnant for at least one month after cessation of treatment. If
pregnancy occurs while using Accutane, seek medical attention
immediately. As little as one dose of Accutane can cause
severe birth defects or miscarriage.
Accutane is present in the semen of men using this product. It is
unknown if its presence in semen will harm a fetus during
conception or intercourse with a pregnant partner.
The prescribing physician should be made aware of all prescription
and non-prescription medications being taken for the duration of
treatment to prevent interactions. The physician should also be
made aware of any other medical conditions, including a history of
Accutane is associated with a range of side effects from mild to
severe. Patients are strongly advised to read the
literature accompanying this product in entirety prior to use, and
to consult a physician with any questions or concerns.
Patients taking Accutane should not donate blood during treatment
or for 30 days after stopping treatment.
Because of the potential for severe birth defects, FDA Regulations
require U.S. patients to participate in the iPLEDGE program
for the duration of treatment with
Accutane. Using this product outside of the iPLEDGE program may be
in violation and subject to penalties.