Accutane recommendations

One in five adults suffers from acne, and the psychological toll is often severe for them. Many are desperate for help to clear their skin, and if the typical face washes and topical treatments don't work, they may gratefully accept a prescription for the acne drug Accutane (generic name - isotretinoin). It is highly recommended to use an intensive moisturiser whilst on a course of accutane. Without a moisturiser, your time on the drug can be extremely uncomfortable and you may suffer permanent skin damage. Use of a high factor sun block whilst on a course of accutane is highly recommended. Your skin will be very fragile and will burn more easily, so unprotected exposure to sunlight should be kept to a minimum and solariums should be avoided. Your lips will be extremely dry whilst on accutane, so use of a good lip balm is essential. Vaseline is highly effective on some people. Try to keep yourself hydrated whilst on accutane to combat dryness. There are several ways you can do this. Firstly, consume plenty of water. This may sound obvious, but your body can become more dehydrated by the drug. Also try to increase your intake of essential fatty acids whilst taking accutane. This may alleviate some of the dryness and can help keep skin supple. Good sources are all types of nuts and oily fish. Avoid eating foods high in Vitamin A on a regular basis, as this increases the risk of side effects from accutane such as potential liver damage. Accutane is a potentially dangerous drug and if you are taking it you should be monitored by a qualified dermatologist to avoid complications.

Accutane and Pregnancy

do not take Accutane if you are pregnant

Accutane is the number one teratogen on the market. A teratogen is a medication that interferes with normal development of the fetus and causes birth defects. Shortly after Accutane became available on the market, the Centers for Disease Control reported that a large proportion of pregnancies in women who are exposed to Accutane result in spontaneous abortions and birth defects and advised against the use of Accutane by pregnant women. You should never take Accutane (isotretinoin) or any of the generic versions of Accutane if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant or could accidentally become pregnant.

Accutane unwanted effects

If a patient has any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, hives or swelling of the throat, lips, face or tongue, stop using the medicine and seek emergency medical help immediately.

If the patient is experiencing any of the following side effects, he or she should stop taking the medication and consult a healthcare professional:

  • Joint stiffness, bone fracture or pain
  • Red skin rash or severe blistering and peeling
  • Easy bruising or bleeding, purple spots under the skin, flu symptoms, body aches, chills, fever
  • Jaundice, clay-colored stools, dark urine, loss of appetite
  • Fast heart rate, vomiting and nausea, severe pain starting in the upper stomach spreading to the back
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Ringing in the ears, hearing loss or other hearing problems
  • Blurred vision, severe pain or headache behind the eyes, with or without vomiting
  • Sudden weakness or numbness, particularly on one side of the body
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide, hallucinations, changes in behavior, agitation or aggression, crying spells, insomnia or sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, depression

Less severe side effects of Accutane include:

  • Changes in toenails or fingernails, rash, itching, peeling or cracking skin
  • Dryness of the skin, nose, mouth or lips
  • Feeling nervous, drowsy or dizzy
  • Back and joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Increased sensitivity to UV rays
  • Voice changes
  • Headache
  • Cold Symptoms
  • Increased bone injuries resulting from weakened or thickened bones

serious side effects of isotretinoin

The more serious side effects of isotretinoin can have long-term or permanent effects. However, apart from increased cholesterol and joint and muscle problems, these side effects are all quite rare.

Increased cholesterol

Isotretinoin can increase the levels of fats and cholesterol in your blood. During your treatment, your doctor may suggest regular blood tests to check your fat and cholesterol levels. You're at higher risk of these problems if you:

  • have diabetes
  • are obese
  • have metabolic syndrome
  • drink alcohol

This side effect, if you have it, typically goes away when you finish your treatment with isotretinoin.

Joint and muscle problems

Tell your doctor if you plan to do hard physical activity during treatment with isotretinoin. Isotretinoin can cause pain in your bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments. It can also stunt the growth of long bones in teens, which could have permanent effects. If you have any of the following symptoms, call your doctor right away:

  • new back pain
  • new joint pain
  • broken bone

If you break a bone, be sure to tell all of the healthcare providers that care for you that you take isotretinoin.

If you have muscle weakness, with or without pain, stop taking isotretinoin and call your doctor right away. Muscle weakness can be a sign of serious muscle damage and could be a permanent effect.

Pressure on your brain

Rarely, isotretinoin can cause increased pressure on the brain. This can lead to permanent loss of eyesight and, in rare cases, death. Stop taking isotretinoin and call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • severe headache
  • blurry vision
  • dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting

If you have either of these symptoms, call 911 right away:

  • seizures
  • stroke
Skin rash

Although rare, a rash caused by isotretinoin can be serious. Stop using isotretinoin and call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • a rash with fever
  • blisters on your arms, legs, or face
  • peeling skin
  • sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes (on the lid or the eye itself)
Organ damage

Isotretinoin can damage your internal organs. These organs include your liver, pancreas, intestines, and esophagus (the tube connecting your mouth and stomach). The damage may not get better even after you stop taking isotretinoin.

This side effect is rare. Still, stop taking isotretinoin and call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • severe pain in your stomach, chest, or lower abdomen
  • trouble swallowing or pain during swallowing
  • new or worsening heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • bleeding from your rectum
  • yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
  • dark urine
Hearing problems

Isotretinoin can cause serious hearing problems in rare cases. Stop using isotretinoin and call your doctor right away if your hearing gets worse or if you have ringing in your ears. Any hearing loss may be permanent.

Vision and eye problems

Isotretinoin can cause vision problems such as blurry vision, double vision, and tunnel vision. This drug can also reduce your ability to see in the dark. Vision problems may fix themselves after you stop taking the drug or the damage may be permanent.

Isotretinoin can cause your eyes to produce more tears than normal. If you wear contact lenses, you may have trouble wearing them while taking isotretinoin. Like the other vision problems, this problem may go away after your stop treatment or it may be permanent.

All of these vision and eye problems are rare. Nevertheless, stop taking isotretinoin and call your doctor right away if you have problems with your vision, an increased amount of tears, or painful or constant eye dryness.

Allergic reactions

Isotretinoin can cause serious allergic reactions in rare cases. Stop taking isotretinoin and call your doctor if you have a rash, red patches, or bruises on your legs or a fever. If you have any of the following symptoms, stop taking isotretinoin and call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room:

  • hives
  • swelling in your face or mouth
  • trouble breathing
Diabetes and other blood sugar problems

Isotretinoin may cause blood sugar problems, including diabetes. Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • severe thirst
  • urinating more often
  • blurry vision
  • increased tiredness

These may be diabetic symptoms caused by the drug. This effect is rare, though.

Low red blood cell levels

Another rare, serious side effect is a decrease in blood cell levels. Low levels of red blood cells can cause problems such as anemia. Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • extreme tiredness
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • coldness in your hands and feet
  • pale skin
Low white blood cell levels

Low levels of white blood cells raise your risk of infections. Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • frequent infections

This side effect is rare.

Mental health issues

Rarely, isotretinoin can cause serious mental health problems. These include depression, psychosis (losing touch with reality), and suicidal thoughts or actions. Stop using isotretinoin and call your doctor right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • increased feelings of sadness
  • crying spells
  • loss of interest in activities you enjoy
  • sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
  • acting more irritable, angry, or aggressive than usual
  • changes in appetite or weight
  • lack of energy
  • withdrawal from friends or family
  • trouble concentrating
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • thoughts of hurting yourself or taking your own life
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real)

How to take Accutane

It is recommend that the individual take this medication with a full glass of water; if the pill cannot be swallowed fully, it may become lodged in the esophagus and melt, causing irritation. Individuals are advised not to suck or chew on the capsule and to swallow as quickly as possible. Some may also consider taking Accutane with milk or food. Always take the medicine for the full length of time as prescribed by a doctor.

Those taking Accutane should do so exactly as directed by a healthcare professionals. Avoid taking the medicine in smaller or larger amounts or for a longer period of time than recommended. When a patient receives a prescription for Accutane, he or she must fill it within one week; a prescription is for a 30-day supply only. The recommended dosage for the medication is 0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg per day typically taken in two divided doses. Food is often suggested with the medication to avoid the risk of an upset stomach and to help absorption. Before physicians will increase the dosage of the medicine, they may verify that the patient has been taking the medication with food. However, during treatment, a physician may adjust the dose depending on the response of the acne or the appearance of side effects. Additionally, some adult patients with a severe disease may benefit from 2.0 mg/kg per day as tolerated. If the total number of acne lesions has been reduced by over 70 percent before completing 16 to 20 weeks of treatment, the physician may recommend that the drug be discontinued. Long-term use of the drug has not been fully evaluated, even in low doses, and is typically not recommended.