What is Accutane? Accutane is a retinoid, used for treating and preventing severe acne. It is a form of vitamin A usually given after other acne medicine or antibiotics have failed to cure pimples. Accutane help reduce the amount of sebum produced by oil glands in your skin and help the skin rejuvenate itself more quickly.
This medication is used to treat severe nodular or cystic acne. It may be used on almost all types of acne that fails other treatment. It is a natural occurring derivative of vitamin A detachable from the bloodstream of all people.
High dosage of vitamin A would have both good and bad effects on you especially if it builds up in the tissue. Large amount of Vitamin A leads to birth defects if used during pregnancy just like accutane.
Fortunately, since its natural occurring, the body is able to get rid of it from bloodstream within 9 days and has no lasting effects on future pregnancies.
Side effects of isotretinoin treatment?
The common side effects include:
- Signs of low moods or depression like anxiety, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, agitations and aggression.
- Back pain, muscle pain and weakness.
- Birth defects and miscarriage.
- Infections sighs like bloody nose, fever, chills, ear or sinus pain, coughs, mouth sores and pain when urinating.
- Blurred vision, severe and sudden headache.
- Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body.
- Changes in your fingernails or toenails.
- Symptoms of esophagus problems such as chest pain, trouble swallowing, heartburn etc.
- Cracks in the corners of the mouth, skin cracking.
- Dizziness and drowsiness.
- Dry eyes, lips, mouth, nose and skin.
- Inflammation of the white part of the eyes.
- Bone and joint pain.
- Nosebleeds and rectal bleeding.
- Signs of allergic reaction, like red swollen skin, rash, hives, blisters, peeling and itchy skin.
- Hair loss.
- Symptoms of liver problems like Stomach upset, dark urine, throwing up, yellow skin or eyes, feeling tired.
- Weight gain.
- Pancreatitis (deadly pancreas problem) especially with claravis medicine.
Get emergency help if you experience swelling on face, lips, tongue, throat and difficulty breathing. Stop using isotretinoin if you experience above serious side effects.
Does Accutane increase cholesterol and fat levels?
Accutane or Isotretinoin increases the level of fats and cholesterol in your blood. Increased cholesterol levels may be aggregated if you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, drink alcohol or you are obese. During the use of Isotretinoin, your doctor should take regular blood test to check your level of fat or cholesterol.
Effects after stopping isotretinoin
Many patients do reports and documented evidence giving accounts of mild side effects after taking accutane. However, rare as it may sound, these serious side effects may occur. A good example is a 17 yr old girl who developed acute kidney injury after using accutane. Fortunately, she recovered in 5 weeks after stopping the treatment.
Another report gave an account of 20 years old male who developed man boobs (gynecomastia) after taking accutane or isotretinoin. Recently researchers have mentioned erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness and other side effects.
A Mexican researcher states that 6 out of 20 men suffered erectile problems after taking accutane. However, the study states the symptoms faded over time and they sustained normal erection. Nevertheless, at times not all may be lucky.
Side effect on Female
The experience of this drug is different depending on gender. Isotretinoin is not “user friendly” for females due to effects on pregnancies. A single dose can cause severe harm, birth defects, miscarriage or even death of the baby. Accutane must not be used during pregnancy or if you might become pregnant.
When looking for this drug or even after being prescribed, you may encounter difficulties such as birth control appointments, signing contract and pledges and monthly pregnancy test. Just remember the drug companies, pharmacies and doctors course of action is due to how potentially dangerous the drug can be to the fetus.
Refrain from getting pregnant when using accutane. Just in case you become pregnant seek or call your doctor and stop taking isotretinoin at once.
Other symptoms reported may include: vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, loss of libido, genital anesthesia and anorgasmia, altered menses, loss of menstruation and even infertility.
Side effects on male
Generally, you should avoid donating blood when using isotretinoin so that it may not end up on pregnant woman and cause harm. Studies on the effects of accutane on fetus when the father is using isotretinoin has not yet been done. However, there is presence of it on semen. This implies it may be sensible to use condom to avoid transmission of this drug to female.
Can I drink while taking accutane? Ideally you should avoid alcohol completely. However small amounts of alcohol (1 unit per day) are unlike to cause harm.
Some of the most sexual symptoms mentioned include: erectile dysfunction. Impotence, partial or complete loss of libido, genital anesthesia, anorgasmia, decreases and watery ejaculation, shrinkage in the flaccid state and lack of blood flow to the glands when erect.
Who can take Accutane?
Accutane or Isotretinoin treatment can last up to 6 months and sometimes even repeated if severe acne recurs. Doctors prescribe Isotretinoin where other acne treatment have failed. These kind of acne can cause social and physical burden to a point the patient is ready and willing to face common side effects like dry skin, headache and cold like signs.
In addition, severe Accutane side effects like liver damage, depression, miscarriage, birth defects and Crohn’s disease may occur. Care needs to be taken when administered on child bearing age women. In fact, one should enroll in a special pregnancy prevention programme before starting using Accutane treatment.
In reality Roche Pharmaceuticals stopped making Accutane in 2009 due to many law suits says drug watch. However, generic versions of Accutane called Isotretinoin still exist. FDA reports that as of 2002, 172 babies out of those who were or got pregnant, were born with congenital defects due to use of accutane.
Possible serious defects of the baby include:
- Lower IQ.
- Facial dysmorphia.
- Cleft palate.
- Parathyroid hormone deficiency.
- Gastrointestinal disorders.
- Ulcerative colitis.
- Eye, ear, skull, cardiovascular, thymus gland and central nervous system abnormalities.
How does accutane treatment work?
Accutane is part of drug class called retinoids drugs mostly used to treat cancer. The treatment works well on severe acne that have not responded to other antibiotics. It is a medication of derivative of vitamin, that works by controlling secretion of sebum.
Nodular acne causes red, swollen, tender bumps to form in the skin. If untreated it can lead to permanent scarring and other side effects.
Things to know before taking accutane?
- The recommended dosage is 0.5 – 2 mg per kg of body weight.
- Interacts with steroids, seizure medications, and tetracycline antibiotics medications.
- Combining with vitamin A increases harm to your fetus and pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding consult your doctor since there is no documented research.
- Do not donate blood if taking isotretinoin, wait for at least 30 days after stopping the medication.
- The list of side effects above is not comprehensive others may exist, consult your doctor.
What to discuss with your doctor before taking claravis or isotretinoin?
It is very fatal to try and purchase accutane on the internet or vendors without doctor’s prescription. Sale and distribution of accutane outside iPLEDGE program violates the U.S regulations of Food and Drug Administration.
Under the program (iPLEDGE) you register and sign documents stating you understand the side effects and dangers of this medication. The following should be discussed by your physician:
- Personal and family history of mental illness or depression.
- Diabetes, heart and liver disease, triglycerides or high control.
- Asthma history.
- Bone disorders, or osteoporosis.
- Anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder).
- Any internal disorder like Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disorder or ulcerative colitis.
What to consider before using this medicine?
As you decide to take this medicine as other medicine. Weigh the benefits verses the risks, this is a decision between you and your doctor. However, the following should be considered:
This medicine has different doses for different patients. Follow the doctor’s direction carefully. For children above 12 years and adults their body weight determine their daily dose. 0.5- 2 mg per kg divided and given as daily dose (twice per day). If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible but in case your next dose is due do not take double dose.
2. Allergic reactions
Discuss with your doctor any allergic reactions to food, preservatives, animal and dyes you may have.
Elderly users may have greater risks of problems of side effects, however no research has been documented on young patients less than 12 years.
4. Pregnancy and Breast feeding
Studies in pregnant women and animals have shown serious fatal abnormalities to the user. This treatment should not be taken by pregnant or someone who may become pregnant. The risks out do the benefits. There is lack of relevant research on the effects of accutane when is used during breast feeding.
5. Interaction with other medication
Other than just side effects, accutane interact with a number of drugs. However, some interactions are more serious than others.
These medications include: Vitamin A, tetracycline, ethinyl estradiol, phenytoin, corticosteroids and progesterone medications.
Others may include
- Desogestrel, dienogest, doxycycline, drospirenone.
- Estradiolcypionate, estradiol valerate, ethynodiol diacetate, etonogestrel.
- Levonorgestrel, lymecycline.
- Meclocycline, medroxyprogesteroneacetate, mestranol, methacycline, minocycline
- Norelgestromin and many others, consult your dermatologist.
Most of these interactions may reduce efficiency of these drugs or aggravate the acne formation on your skin.
6. Other infections
Before taking accutane, let your doctor know any other infection or medical problem you may have, like diabetes and other sugar problems. Alternatively, isotretinoin may cause blood sugar problems like diabetes, low red blood cells or anemia, or low white blood cell levels that may raise other infections on the body.