Accutane (Isotretinoin) is a retinoid preparation applied in the severe repeated cases of acne. Accutane is the last resort for the patients who failed to get the desired results when using other acne medications.
The drug is usually taken two times a day from 15 to 20 weeks in a row to cope with the problem. The capsule should be swallowed whole and washed down with at least a glass of water. Chewing, crushing or breaking it may result in the irritation of the mucous membranes of the esophagus.
Isotretinoin, which is an active ingredient of Accutane, belongs to Vitamin A derivatives. The medication has been successfully used for the therapy of acne for almost 40 years.
The drug works by decreasing the activeness and the size of skin oil glands. They start producing less skin oil, hence the number of bacteria, which cause the inflammation of pores and the appearance of acne, also reduces. Furthermore, the medication affects the growth of the skin cells thus preventing the pores from clogging. Hence, the effect of Accutane for acne scars is also beneficial. In combination with anti-inflammatory properties of the remedy, the first results of treatment may be seen in several weeks already.
Who shouldn’t take Accutane?
Only people taking part in the iPLEDGE program may get Accutane therapy. Nevertheless, this is not the only condition, which should be fulfilled prior to the drug intake. A number of health problems may become an obstacle for the therapy. Among them are:
- Severe liver disease;
- Gastrointestinal ailments (e.g. ulcerative colitis, Chron’s disease);
- Mental health disorders in a personal or family history (e.g. depression);
- Cardiovascular issues;
- High cholesterol;
- Fragile bones (osteoporosis);
This list may be continued, so you’d better ask your healthcare specialist about all the contraindications to Accutane intake. You shouldn’t take Isotretinoin for not severe acne as the benefits may not always prevail the risks.
Special attention is paid to the women of childbearing age as the medication induces severe birth defects and may even become the reason of fetus’ death. All women who are starting or getting ready to Accutane therapy are obliged to use at least two reliable birth control methods to avoid pregnancy. They should pass a pregnancy test 30 days before the first pill intake and undergo this procedure every time they refill the prescription. The last test should be done in a month after the final pill.
In case you get pregnant or you think that you might be pregnant, your doctor should be informed and the treatment must be discontinued.
You cannot become a blood donor while on Accutane and at least 30 days after the therapy is over.
Are the results of treatment final?
The effectiveness of the therapy depends on the prescribed dose. An individual on Accutane 20 mg gets rid of acne forever, whereas the one receiving a lower dose may face the problem again. In such cases, a patient should pass another course of Isotretinoin for back acne.
According to the latest researches, the efficiency and the safety of the medication may be increased due to the prolongation of the therapy with the use of lower Accutane doses. The only condition is that the patient should reach the set cumulative dose of the remedy. It has also been proven that the scarring may be significantly reduced when using a longer tactic of treatment.