Accutane and its Uses

Accutane, a brand name for isotretinoin, belongs to a class of drugs called retinoids, a derivative of Vitamin A. Used for treatment for a severe form of acne called nodular acne when other treatments, including antibiotics, prove ineffective, Accutane and other isotretinion-type drugs work by shrinking the sebaceous gland. By shrinking this gland, oil production in the dermis is reduced. Less oil production results in less clogging of pores and fewer breakouts. One course of treatment is generally sufficient for success, with a course typically lasting 4-5 months.

Each capsule of Accutane contains many ingredients including beeswax, butylated hydroxyanisole, edetate disodium, hydrogenated soybean oil flakes, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and soybean oil. In gelatin capsules, glycerin and parabens (methyl and propyl) are present. The chemical formula for isotretinoin is 13-cis-retinoic acid. It is a crystalline powder in yellow to orange color.

The manufacturer of Accutane, Roche, the US division of the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., voluntarily stopped  production of Accutane in 2009; Roche claims it halted production because of marketshare losses and the increase of lawsuit defense costs.  Accutane is off the market, but other manufacturers are still producing its generic equivalent.

Uses of Accutane

It is a potent medicine prescribed for the treatment of severe nodular acne when other medications have failed to cure them.

Precautions before taking Accutane

The following precautions have been included in the Accutane Medical Guide provided by Roche and the FDA:

  • Accutane can cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women.  FDA has also warned against its birth defects related side effects. It has asked women to use at least two types of birth control and go through a pregnancy test before and while taking Accutane. It is also advisable to continue this precaution for six months after stopping the use of Accutane.
  • Vitamin supplements containing Vitamin A should be avoided while using Accutane as it is a form of vitamin A and it can result into excess of Vitamin A and related side effects.
  • The patients using Accutane should avoid donating blood.   Blood donation can cause transfusion of Accutane in the blood of patients to whom this blood is given. It can lead to side effects. It should be taken care of till one month after stopping the use.
  • Do not buy Accutane through the Internet, as it can be dangerous.
  • Use Accutane only on prescription by a doctor.
  • Do not use Accutane if you are allergic to isotretinoin or parabens.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to have a baby, avoid using Accutane as it can cause severe birth defects.
  • Consult your doctor before using Accutane if you or your family has a history of mental illness.
  • If you have any heart disease, or cholesterol related problem, tell your doctor before using Accutane.
  • History of bone disorders such as osteoporosis also demands a consultation with your doctor.
  • Patients having diabetes, asthma, liver disease or eating disorder should also discuss these conditions with their doctor, if they are prescribed Accutane.
  • You should tell your doctor if you have any intestinal disorder.
  • Tell your doctor, if you are using any other medicine.
  • Avoid any beauty treatment related to skin such as waxing, dermabrasion, laser treatment, etc.  It can worsen condition of your skin.
  • Do not expose your skin to ultraviolet rays while using Accutane. It can further damage your skin.

Have You Been Affected by Accutane?

Any individual or the relative of an individual who has suffered due to Accutane’s side effects is permitted to file a lawsuit.  The lawyers can help you determine whether you are qualified to seek compensation.  You may be eligible to seek reimbursement for medical expenses, compensation for pain and suffering, and punitive damages (compensation granted for losses suffered).  If you need further information about the harmful side effects of Accutane or legal advice concerning personal injury matters, we invite you to contact us or to fill out our form on this website for a free case evaluation.