Isotretinoin for Acne
Isotretinoin is a powerful and effective medicine derived from vitamin A (retinoid medicine). Doctors prescribe it to treat severe acne only after other treatments have failed. Isotretinoin can cause some rare but serious side effects. Just one dose of isotretinoin can cause severe birth defects if a woman is pregnant when taking this medicine.1
Isotretinoin usually needs to be taken for 3 to 6 months.
How It Works
Isotretinoin works by unclogging skin pores and shrinking oil glands.
Why It Is Used
Doctors use isotretinoin to treat people who:
How Well It Works
Isotretinoin is very effective for controlling most types of acne and for clearing it up for long periods of time.2
Retinoid medicines may have side effects, such as:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Isotretinoin is strictly regulated for use in women by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of the danger of miscarriage and of serious birth defects in babies whose mothers took the medicine during pregnancy. Doctors may only prescribe these medicines for a female who is not pregnant and who does not intend to become pregnant while taking the medicine. You must also use two methods of birth control and have pregnancy tests on a regular basis while using this medicine.
The FDA has announced that the companies that make isotretinoin have a program to register doctors who prescribe isotretinoin and the people who take it. The program is to ensure that women taking this drug understand the risk of birth defects, take precautions to avoid pregnancy, and know what to do if they become pregnant. If your doctor suggests that you take isotretinoin, you must be registered with iPLEDGE in order to get the drug. You can get more information and register at www.ipledgeprogram.com or by telephone at 1-866-495-0654 (toll-free).
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