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Isotretinoin For Acne

isotretinoin for acne

How to use Isotretinoin 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.

What Is Isotretinoin and How Does It Work?

Isotretinoin  is a powerful medication used to treat severe inflammatory acne. It is an oral medication that is taken once or twice daily. This medication is probably best known by the now-defunct brand name Accutane.

Isotretinoin (not to be confused with tretinoin is classified as a retinoid, made from a synthetic form of vitamin A. It is taken orally, in pill form, once or twice daily.

It's considered the most effective prescription treatment available for severe acne. Isotretinoin can successfully treat, and completely clear up acne, even acne that has not improved with other treatments.

What Are the Side Effects?

While isotretinoin is a valuable treatment for severe acne, it does come with side effects. Some of these can be severe, so you'll be carefully monitored by your doctor during the entire time you're taking this medication.

The most common side effects of isotretinoin include:

  • Dry, peeling, flaking, and itchy skin
  • Dry eyes, mouth, and nose
  • Chapped lips
  • Nosebleeds
  • Photosensitivity
  • Thinning hair
  • Decreased night vision
  • Fatigue

Not as commonly isotretinoin causes:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Diarrhea or rectal bleeding
  • Severe chest or abdominal pain
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • High blood triglycerides

The Bottom Line

Isotretinoin has proven to be a successful acne treatment. For those who suffer from severe inflammatory or cystic acne, it may be a viable treatment option, especially if acne has not responded well to other medications. Ultimately, you and your dermatologist must decide if isotretinoin therapy is right for you.

After You Stop Taking Isotretinoin

Your skin might go on getting better even after you stop taking isotretinoin. Most of the side effects of isotretinoin go away in a few days or weeks after you stop taking isotretinoin. If your side effects last more than a few weeks after you stop taking isotretinoin, talk to your doctor.

Some patients have to take isotretinoin more than one time. If you need to take isotretinoin again, you can start taking it again 8 to 10 weeks after your first treatment is over. Do not give blood for at least one month after you stop taking isotretinoin.

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