Acne Treatment Information: Accutane Side Effects and Patient Information
Accutane is a medication used for the treatment of severe cases of acne, especially those linked to permanent and disfiguring scarring such as acne vulgaris, acne conglobata and acne fulminans.
This drug is related to vitamin A, which makes it classified as a retinoid. Most dermatologists and physicians prescribe Accutane for management of acne. Since there are high risks for developing side effects, it is often not used as the first course of treatment. Deep facial cleansers and topical creams are usually the first round of treatments patients will receive.
Physicians have also utilized the drug to treat Harlequin-type-ichthyosis, a rare condition that causes the skin to present plating as thick as armor after birth. Accutane has also been used sparsely to treat certain types of cancers including pancreatic and brain cancer. However, the drug may work throughout the body in killing cells not related to cancers.
The typical dose for a patient taking Accutane is in the form of a pill. The dosage is normally split into two times daily regimen and be taken with a meal. The round of medication lasts between 15 and 20 weeks and physicians recommend that Accutane not be given as a once-daily dose, as this may introduce too much into the body at once.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates a Black Box warning on all isortetinoin products, including Accutane. This warning provides the potential hazards and side effects that could affect patients who take the drug.
Side effects of Accutane include: Acne flare ups, severe dry skin on body, hair thinning, headache, eczema, fatigue, brittle nails, menstrual problems, gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea. Some severe side effects which can occur to patients who consistently take Accutane may include: severe depression, suicidal thoughts, birth defects, liver damage, intense nausea and allergic reactions.
Patients with a sensitivity or allergy to paraben should avoid this drug. Accutane should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor and should be taken only in the recommended dosage. Blood and liver tests may be requested while a patient is using Accutane to ensure the body is not responding negatively to the medication.
Patients with a family history of depression are discouraged from taking Accutane, as the risk for depression can be worsened. Certain conditions may warrant an adjustment in the suggested dosage of Accutane for some patients. Accutane should also not be used by women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, as birth defects are likely. Please be sure to speak or receive a checkup with a dermatologist prior to making a decision.
By providing FDA alerts, drug information and drug side effects about prescription and over the counter medications, we can ensure an environment where patients have the best knowledge on their medical treatment and health.