Accutane, a brand name medication, is a very strong treatment for acne. Its pharmaceutical name is Isotretioin, and is guaranteed to clear up acne within 4 to 5 months. However, it is very potent medication with serious side effects and must be prescribed safely by a doctor. Accutane treats the most severe cases of acne that has not responded to other treatments. It is in a class of medications called retinoids and works by slowling down the production of certain natural substances that cause pimples to form.
There are special precautions you should know about before considering taking Accutane, such as:
- Know your allergies and consult your doctor to see if these allergies will conflict with this medication
- Tell your doctor all medications you have been taking, past and present
- Tell your doctor if you have had depression, mental illness, diabetes, asthma, osteoporosis, anorexia, heart or liver disease.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Plan to avoid long exposure to sunlight
- Be aware that Accutane may cause changes in your behavior and mentality
- Be conscious when playing sports or physical activity because Accutane may cause bone weakening.
Common side effects to Accutane include:
- red, cracked, and sore lips
- dry skin, eyes, mouth, or nose
- changes in skin color
- peeling skin, especially on the palms and soles
- changes in the nails
- slowed healing of cuts or sores
- bleeding or swollen gums
- hair loss or unwanted hair growth
- voice changes
- cold symptoms
If you experience more serious side effects such as blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, seizures, etc., please contact your doctor immediately.
Accutane is a very costly medication for acne treatment, but fortunately is covered by most insurance companies. Generally, a co-pay for a month’s supply of Accutane is around $30-50. Without insurance, it would be around $400-500.
Once again, Accutane is not an over-the-counter acne medication and cannot be taken lightly. Please consult your doctor for more information on this treatment and whether it is right for you.