Produced under the brand name Accutane, isotretinoin is a medication taken orally for 15-20 weeks. Accutane, or isotretinoin, is a Vitamin A derivative that is prescribed to people suffering from severe acne vulgaris, or nodular acne. Results of Accutane treatments have shown total clear-up of severe acne conditions and, in many cases, an extended remission period of the occurrence of acne.
Accutane works by reducing the amount of oil that the skin's oil glands produce.
While Accutane achieves desired effects in many acne sufferers, it is a powerful drug and one that should be used with caution and consideration. Before deciding to take Accutane, talk with your dermatologist about the uses for this medicine, the precautions one should take while using it, and the health risks and side effects associated with it.
Accutane should be taken exactly as directed. If there is any part of the directions for taking Accutane that you do not understand, talk with your doctor about the questions you have.
You may not notice any improvement in the condition of your acne until you have been taking Accutane for 4-6 weeks. In fact, you acne may actually be aggravated during the first few weeks of Accutane treatment. Your acne should improve drastically, however, within 15-20 weeks of treatment.
There are many common side effects associated with Accutane. If you are experiencing these side effects for a prolonged period of time, tell your dermatologist. You should also talk with your dermatologist if you feel that the side effects are not easing up or if they are particularly severe.
The common side effects associated with Accutane include:
? cracked, red, sore lips
? dry, itchy, red, inflamed eyes
? dry and irritated mouth and nose
? dry and irritated skin
? thinning hair
? fatigue and low energy
There are other less common and more dangerous side effects associated with Accutane treatment. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
? pain in the bones or joints
? pain in the chest
? stomach pain
? problems with vision
? difficulty breathing
? difficulty swallowing
? difficulty hearing
? ringing in the ears
? difficulty walking
? bleeding from the rectum
? red patches on the skin
? peeling skin
? infections in the skin
? severe diarrhea
? aching muscles
? feelings of depression
? suicidal thoughts
? dementia or hallucination
When taking Accutane, you should also exercise extreme caution when operating a vehicle, because the medication can affect night vision. Do not donate blood while taking Accutane.
Women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant should not take Accutane. Accutane is associated with a high risk of deformity in infants developing during the pregnancy of women taking Accutane.
Because Accutane can cause severe sensitivity to sunlight, you should avoid direct sunlight while taking Accutane. If you must be in the sun, cover your skin with clothing and sunscreen. You should also protect your eyes with sunglasses.
Accutane also increases the amount of fats in your blood. While taking Accutane you should avoid eating fatty foods. You should also curb your alcohol consumption while undergoing Accutane treatment.