Accutane Side Effects

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Accutane® (isotretinoin) is an oral medication that is used to treat severe forms of cystic acne. Although this drug is no longer sold under the brand name Accutane®, it is still available in its generic form. Side effects for the generic version will be the same as for Accutane® itself.

Isotretinoin, a retinoid, is not recommended for females of childbearing age except as a last alternative, as it may cause serious complications with pregnancy. It is also not recommended for men who are at risk of impregnating a female, as it can also cause birth defects when semen has been contaminated.

Other common side effects of Accutane® include dry skin, sore lips, altered skin color, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, vocal changes, excess hair or hair loss, and tiredness. A number of severe side effects can also occur, such as depression, speech problems, altered vision, passing out, and pounding heartbeat.


Flickr: perry_marco
Brand name for Isotretinoin
Manufacturer Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.
Phone number 973-235-5000[1]
Uses Treats acne
Note Accutane® is no longer on the market, but the generic version (isotretinoin) is still available
Disclaimer The information provided by is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell


About Accutane

Accutane® is a drug that is taken orally to treat acne. Accutane® was once made by Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., but was discontinued due to a low market share compared with other versions. Accurtane® was also the target of numerous personal-injury cases.

The generic version of Accutane®, isotretinoin, is still available with a doctor's prescription. Other names of this drug include Amnesteem, Claravis and Sotret. In addition to acne, this drug has also been used to treat folliculitis, Hidradenitis suppurativa, rosacea and other skin conditions.[2]

Isotretinoin is a retinoid, and it works by decreasing the production of oil by the skin. It comes in the form of a capsule, which is to be swallowed whole. Acne may get worse upon initial treatment, but then improve over the next two months.

Accutane Side Effects

Common side effects of Accutane® include dry lips and mouth, flaky skin, loss of hair, unexpected hair growth, slow skin healing, sweating, signs of a cold, nausea and facial swelling (particularly around the eyelids and the lips).

More serious side effects can include depression, suicidal thoughts, aggressive behavior, skin tingling, irregular heartbeat, numbness, weakness, pain, ear ringing, jaundice, rectal bleeding, and loss of consciousness.

About Accutane

Effectiveness and side effects

Accutane Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to Accutane® can be dangerous, and doctors recommend discontinuing usage and seeking medical attention at once if patients experience trouble breathing, swollen face including oral areas, or hives. Patients who allergic to isotretinoin or parabens are at risk of having reactions to Accutane®, and allergies can also occur from any of the inactive ingredients.

Accutane Warnings and Precautions

  • Accutane® causes birth defects. Men and fertile women taking the drug must sign a pledge vowing that they will not become pregnant or impregnate another. All females of childbearing age are instructed to use two forms of birth control while taking this drug. There is a high risk of miscarriage, premature birth and infant death among mothers who take isotretinoin.
  • Accutane® can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, as well as more prone to irritation from elements like wind and cold temperatures. Sunlamps and tanning beds can cause adverse reactions with Accutane® users. Signs of severe skin reactions with Accutane include blisters, skin lesions, looser skin, ulcers or white patches in the mouth.
  • Accutane® can affect night vision.
  • Patients taking Accutan®e are advised not to drink alcohol.
  • Skin scarring may occur if certain cosmetic procedures, such as laser hair removal, lasers, waxing or dermabrasion are performed on a patient taking Accutane®.
  • Some physicians believe that Accutane® can cause deep depression and thoughts of suicide. There has been more than one reported case of a parent blaming the drug for their teen's self-inflicted death. However, other doctors see no link between Accutane® and mood alterations, and one minor study published in Archives of Dermatology showed that teens were actually less depressed after being treated with Accutane.[3]


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