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Isotretinoin - Accutane

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Accutane Profile:

Isotretinoin, a chemical cousin of vitamin A, is prescribed for the treatment of severe, disfiguring cystic acne that has not cleared up in response to milder medications such as antibiotics. Accutane works on the oil glands within the skin, shrinking them and diminishing their output. You take Isotretinoin by mouth every day for several months, then stop. The antiacne effect can last even after you have finished your course of medication.

Accutane may cause depression or other mental problems such as: mood swings, aggression, sadness, hopelessness, loss of pleasure, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, change in sleep patterns, restlessness, and irritability. In rare cases, it has prompted thoughts of suicide. If you begin to feel depressed or become troubled by suicidal thoughts, contact your doctor immediately.

The most damaging side effect of Isotretinoin is serious birth defects if taken during pregnancy.

Accutane Dosing:

Take Isotretinoin two times a day with a meal, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Swallow the capsule. Don't suck or chew it. Take it with a full glass of water, milk, or other nonalcoholic liquid. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.

Depending on your reaction to Isotretinoin, your doctor may need to adjust the dosage upward or downward. If you respond quickly and very well, your doctor may take you off Isotretinoin even before the 15 or 20 weeks are up.

After you finish taking Isotretinoin, there should be at least a 2-month "rest period" during which you are off the drug. This is because your acne may continue to get better even though you are no longer taking the medication. Once the 2 months are up, if your acne is still severe, your doctor may want to give you a second course of Isotretinoin. If you are still growing, your doctor may recommend a longer "rest period."

Avoid consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Read the patient information leaflet available with the product.

Do not crush the capsules.

Do not share Isotretinoin with anyone because of the risk of birth defects and other serious side effects.

Missed dose of Accutane:

Take the forgotten dose of Accutane as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.

Storage - To store Accutane:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Do not store in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Accutane Side effects:

Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Accutane.

More common side effects may include:

Abnormal hair growth or loss, allergic reaction, bleeding gums, blood in urine, bowel inflammation and pain, bruising, changes in blood sugar or cholesterol levels, changes in skin pigmentation, chest pain, decreased night vision, decreased tolerance to contact lenses, delay in wound healing, depression, difficulty sleeping, dizziness, drowsiness, dry or fragile skin, dry or cracked lips, dry mouth, dry nose, fatigue, flushing, headache, hearing problems, heartbeat irregularities, herpes, inflammation or sores in the esophagus, itching, joint pain, liver disorders, menstrual changes, muscle wasting, nail disorders, nausea, nervousness, nosebleeds, peeling palms or soles, pinkeye, rash, skin infections, stomach and intestinal discomfort, stroke, sudden drop in blood pressure (causing unconsciousness), sunburn-sensitive skin, suppression of growth, sweating, swelling due to fluid retention, tendon and ligament problems, urinary discomfort, vision problems, vomiting, weakness, weight loss.