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Isotretinoin Accutane

isotretinoin accutane

Introduction

Accutane is a brand-name version of the drug isotretinoin. The brand is no longer available in the United States. However, the generic version of isotretinoin and other brand-name versions, such as Absorica, are still available.

Isotretinoin is used to treat a type of severe acne called nodular acne. Nodular acne causes red, swollen, tender lumps to form in the skin. If untreated, nodular acne can lead to permanent scarring.

Your doctor will only prescribe isotretinoin when other treatments, including antibiotics, haven’t helped your nodular acne. While isotretinoin can help treat nodular acne, it can also cause many side effects. Some of these effects can be serious, especially if the drug is taken during pregnancy.

side effects

  • dry skin
  • chapped lips
  • dry eyes
  • dry nose that may lead to nosebleeds

How to use Accutane Capsule

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using isotretinoin and each time you get a refill. Read and sign a Patient Information/Informed Consent form before you start taking this medication. If you have any questions about isotretinoin, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking the medication.

Swallow capsules whole. Do not crush or chew them. Isotretinoin is usually taken twice daily for 15-20 weeks, or as directed by your doctor. Directions for most generic forms of isotretinoin state that it should be taken with meals. However, the FDA has indicated that the Absorica brand may be taken with or without food. Food helps increase absorption of this drug into your bloodstream. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information. Take this drug with a full glass of water, and do not lie down for at least 10 minutes after taking it.

The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.

Your acne may worsen during the first few days of taking this drug, and it may take up to 1-2 months before you notice the full benefit of this medication. If severe acne returns, a second course of treatment may be started after you have stopped taking the drug for 2 months. The manufacturer does not recommend long-term use of isotretinoin. Do not take more than the recommended dose.

Pregnancy warning

If you’re a female who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you must avoid using isotretinoin. Taking isotretinoin during pregnancy carries an extremely high risk of severe birth defects. This is true if the drug is used in any amount and even for short periods of time.

If you become pregnant during treatment with isotretinoin, stop taking the drug right away. A gynecologist can then give you further evaluation and counseling.

Isotretinoin can cause birth defects such as:

  • abnormalities of the face, eyes, ears, and skull
  • problems with the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and thymus and parathyroid glands
  • reduced IQ

Important Information

Isotretinoin must not be taken by patients who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. There is a high risk that isotretinoin will cause loss of the pregnancy, or will cause the baby to be born too early, to die shortly after birth, or to be born with birth defects (physical problems that are present at birth).

A program called iPLEDGE has been set up to make sure that pregnant women do not take isotretinoin and that women do not become pregnant while taking isotretinoin. All patients, including women who cannot become pregnant and men, can get isotretinoin only if they are registered with iPLEDGE, have a prescription from a doctor who is registered with iPLEDGE and fill the prescription at a pharmacy that is registered with iPLEDGE. Do not buy isotretinoin over the internet.

You will receive information about the risks of taking isotretinoin and must sign an informed consent sheet stating that you understand this information before you can receive the medication. You will need to see your doctor every month during your treatment to talk about your condition and the side effects you are experiencing. At each visit, your doctor may give you a prescription for up to a 30-day supply of medication with no refills. If you are a woman who can become pregnant, you will also need to have a pregnancy test in an approved lab each month and have your prescription filled and picked up within 7 days of your pregnancy test. If you are a man or if you are a woman who cannot become pregnant, you must have this prescription filled and picked up within 30 days of your doctor visit. Your pharmacist cannot dispense your medication if you come to pick it up after the allowed time period has passed.

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