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After Isotretinoin

After Isotretinoin

About isotretinoin capsules

Isotretinoin capsules are a very effective treatment for severe acne (spots).

This medicine can have serious side effects, however, so it must be prescribed and supervised by a doctor.

Isotretinoin also comes as a gel that you put on your skin, if you are looking for information on this, read isotretinoin gel (Isotrex).

How Isotretinoin Works

Isotretinoin is a synthetic form or derivative of Vitamin A. It improves acne by reducing oil production and shrinking oil glands, and by decreasing inflammation. The oil production is reduced while the patient is on the Isotretinoin, but returns to normal after the Isotretinoin is stopped. Surprisingly, the improvement in the acne persists even after oil production returns to normal and the Isotretinoin is stopped.


Patients on Isotretinoin should wash their face much less so as not to increase the dryness that the Isotretinoin causes. Wash your face only once a day with no soap at all unless otherwise advised

Stop all other acne creams as they increase the dryness that Isotretinoin can cause. Do not take any antibiotics while on Isotretinoin as they can interfere with the treatment and cause severe headaches and side effects. Should you require antibiotics for an infection, contact your dermatologist for advises how to use the Isotretinoin during this time.

You should avoid Vitamins that contain Vitamin A. This is because the Vitamin A in these products may add to the unwanted effects of Isotretinoin.

Please be sure to return to me in the scheduled appointments. Because of the well-structured way in which Isotretinoin is given, prescriptions cannot be renewed over the telephone.

Report any unusual or severe symptoms that appear during treatment with isotretinoin. Isotretinoin usually is very well tolerated, but unwanted side effects may occur with this drug as with other medicines. Please tell me, especially if there is severe or persistent headache, blurred vision or other visual disturbances, nausea and vomiting, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.

How should this medicine be used?

Isotretinoin comes as a capsule to take by mouth. Isotretinoin is usually taken twice a day with meals for 4 to 5 months at a time. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take isotretinoin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of liquid. Do not chew, crush, or suck on the capsules.

Your doctor will probably start you on an average dose of isotretinoin and increase or decrease your dose depending on how well you respond to the medication and the side effects you experience. Follow these directions carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure how much isotretinoin you should take.

It may take several weeks or longer for you to feel the full benefit of isotretinoin. Your acne may get worse during the beginning of your treatment with isotretinoin. This is normal and does not mean that the medication is not working. Your acne may continue to improve even after you finish your treatment with isotretinoin.

Will my acne return?

For most people, acne does not return after Isotretinoin has beendiscontinued. However, you may still experience the occasional spot. Tryto use skin cleansers and moisturisers that are non-oily. Use skin careproducts that are labelled 'non-comedogenic'.If your acne does return, usually it will not be as severe as it was before,and will be controlled with the kind of treatments that you can applydirectly to your skin. You can buy some of these (for example BenzylPeroxide) over the counter.There are other treatments that your GP can prescribe. Often, antibioticsthat did not work before may now clear your acne. See your GP todiscuss this.

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