Accutane Side Effects
| Accutane Dosage
Powerful drug used in the treatment of acne. Four to five months of isotretinoin treatment usually leads to clearing of acne for one year or more after the medicine is stopped. Most other acne-controlling medicines are antibacterial agents, which are effective only if the medicine is used daily. Isotretinoin has significant side effects: (percentages are the ratio of people who received the side-effect) Chapped lips 90% ,dry skin and itching 80% - the use of daily alpha hydroxacids will help prevent this side effect. Dryness of nose, mild nosebleed 80%, Irritation of the eyelids and eyes 40% - Vitamin E 400 IU each day may lessen this side effect. Joint and muscle pains 15%, Temporary hair thinning 10%, Rash 7%, Intestinal symptoms 5%, Urinary symptoms 5%, Headache 5%, Increased sensitivity to sunburn 5%, Decreased night vision <1%, Depression, thoughts of suicide <1% Isotretinoin may increase the level of blood fats, sometimes to risky levels. Occasionally it may affect the liver. That s why regular blood tests are necessary when you are taking isotretinoin; these tests must be done when you have fasted for 12 hours (no breakfast), so that the blood fat determinations are reliable. A baseline blood chemistry test is established before patients start isotretinoin.
Accutane is one of several man-made drugs derived from vitamin A. The generic name for Accutane is isotretinoin. Accutane and other vitamin A-derivatives are referred to as retinoids. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for normal growth and development. It is found in foods such as green leafy and yellow vegetables, oranges, pineapple, cantaloupe, liver, egg yolks, and butter. It is also available in multivitamins and separately as a daily supplement. Vitamin A is important in a number of biological processes. Included among these is the growth and differentiation of the epithelium, the cells that form the outer layer of skin as well as some of the layers beneath. Deficiency of vitamin A may lead to increased susceptibility to infection and problems with vision and growth of skin cells. The potential risks of supplemental vitamin A in a person's diet have been a matter of some debate. However, excess vitamin A during pregnancy does not seem to be associated with an increased risk for birth defects.
The same cannot be said for drugs derived from vitamin A. Accutane, like other retinoids, displays some of the same biologic properties as vitamin A, such as its role in stimulating the growth of epithelium. For this reason, it is an effective method of treatment for severe cases of nodular acne, a condition characterized by cystic, painful, scarring lesions. Four to five months of Accutane treatment usually leads to clearing of the acne for one year or more, even after the medicine is stopped. Accutane may also be prescribed for moderate acne that has not responded to other forms of treatment, usually antibiotics taken every day by mouth. Milder cases of acne that produce scarring or other related skin disorders may also be treated with this medication. Often, dermatologists prescribe Accutane only after other methods of treatment have been unsuccessful.
Common side effects of Accutane are chapped lips, dry skin with itching, mild nosebleeds, joint and muscle pain, and temporary thinning of hair. Depression, including thoughts of suicide, has been reported more recently as another, much more serious, potential side effect. Severe acne on its own is associated with lower self-esteem. As of 2001, no studies have been published to try to determine if Accutane use somehow makes it more likely for a person to be depressed or to attempt suicide.
It had previously been shown to cause birth defects in animals. Consequently, its approval was granted with the provision that the drug label would describe its risk of causing birth defects. The patient information brochure also included information for women taking the medication about avoiding preganancy.
The first report of an infant with Accutane-related birth defects was published in 1983. A pattern of birth defects involving the head, ears, face, and heart was identified. In 1985, Dr. Edward Lammer reviewed a total of 154 pregnancies exposed to Accutane. Each of the pregnancies had included use of the drug during the first three months of pregnancy. This period, referred to as the first trimester, is a critical and sensitive time during which all of the organs begin to develop. Chemical insults during this part of pregnancy often result in abnormal formation of internal organs with or without external abnormalities.
Each of the 154 pregnancies had been voluntarily reported. The pregnancy outcomes included 95 elective pregnancy terminations and 59 continuing pregnancies. Of these, twelve (20%) ended in a spontaneous pregnancy loss, or miscarriage. The remaining 47 pregnancies resulted in six stillborn infants with obvious abnormalities, 18 live born infants with abnormalities, and 26 apparently normal babies. The abnormalities observed among the stillborn and living infants were similar, most frequently involving the head, face, heart, and central nervous system. Thus, use of Accutane during the first several months of pregnancy was shown to be associated with an increased risk of pregnancy loss (miscarriage or stillbirth) as well as with a significant risk of birth defects in living children. This pattern of abnormalities has since become known as Accutane embryopathy. The term retinoic acid embryopathy is also occasionally used to describe the same condition because other retinoids, such as Tegison (etretinate), have been associated with a similar pattern of birth defects. Tegison is commonly used to treat severe psoriasis and can cause birth defects even if stopped years before becoming pregnant.
Accutane is a powerful drug for the the treatment of resistant or scarring acne. When taken for 20 weeks, Accutane has a greater than 85% rate of clearing patients' acne for at least one year, and in many cases, permanently. All other effective acne medications can control acne, but the acne returns then treatment is stopped.
Accutane Side Effects
- dry, itching skin
- inflamed lips
- muscle aches and pains
- vomiting, belly pain
- nose bleeds
- dry mouth, nose and eyes
- irritated eyes
- if you are pregnant this medicine can cause birth defects, premature births, and death in babies
- serious mental problems such as depression
- 0.5 to 2 mg/kg given in 2 divided doses daily for 15 to 20 weeks