Isotretinoin, also known as Accutane or Roaccutane, is a medication used to treat severe acne. While it is an effective treatment, it can have rare but serious side effects. Here are some of the rare and long-term side effects of isotretinoin.
What does accutane (Isotretinoin) do?
Isotretinoin, the active ingredient in the drug Accutane, is used to treat severe acne that has not responded to other forms of therapy. It is a kind of vitamin A that functions by lowering the quantity of oil produced by the skin’s oil glands, assisting in the prevention of acne.
Accutane is often prescribed for a 15- to 20-week course and is administered orally in the form of capsules. The drug is gradually increased throughout this period to a level that is customized for each patient. Treatment with Accutane may significantly lessen acne, and in some circumstances, it may even completely clear acne.
this medicine is most effective in treating severe forms of acne, such as nodular or cystic acne. It is not typically used to treat milder forms of acne or blackheads.
Common side effects of isotretinoin:
Isotretinoin’s typical side effects include the following:
- Dry skin and lips
- Joint and muscle pain
- Eye dryness and irritation
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight
- Thinning hair
- Mood changes
Rare side effects of accutane:
Here are a few accutane’s uncommon negative effects:
- Depression and suicidal thoughts: Isotretinoin has been associated with an increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts. While this is a rare side effect, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience any changes in mood or behavior while taking isotretinoin.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: accutane has been linked to an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This is a rare side effect, but it can be serious and may require medical treatment.
- Birth defects: this medicine is known to cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should not take isotretinoin.
- Visual disturbances: Isotretinoin can cause visual disturbances, such as difficulty seeing at night or blurring of vision. These side effects are rare but should be reported to a healthcare provider if they occur.
- Liver damage: this one is a rare side effect. Signs of liver damage include yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, and dark urine.
- Allergic reactions: Signs of an allergic reaction include rash, itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, and difficulty breathing. Allergic reactions are rare, but they can be serious and may require immediate medical attention.
- Pancreatitis: accutane has been linked to an increased risk of pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms may include severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
- Hearing loss: Signs of hearing loss include ringing in the ears, difficulty hearing, or complete deafness.
- Bone and muscle problems: its also can cause bone and muscle problems, such as joint pain, stiffness, or weakness. These side effects are rare, but they may require medical attention.
What are the long-term side effects of accutane?
Here are some of the long-term side effects of accutane:
- Dryness: Isotretinoin can cause long-term dryness of the skin, eyes, and nose. This can lead to discomfort and irritation, but can usually be managed with moisturizers, eye drops, and saline nasal sprays.
- Photosensitivity: accutane can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight, which can lead to increased risk of sunburn and skin damage. It’s important to use sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Bone density loss: Isotretinoin has been associated with bone density loss in some people. This can increase the risk of fractures and osteoporosis in the long term. However, this side effect is rare and usually occurs with long-term use of the medication.
- Elevated liver enzymes: accutane can cause elevated liver enzymes in some people. While this is usually a temporary side effect, long-term use of the medication may lead to liver damage.
- Vision problems: such as dry eyes, night blindness, and color blindness. While these side effects are rare, they may persist even after treatment is discontinued.
- Hair loss: it cause hair loss in some people. While this is usually a temporary side effect, it may persist or become permanent in some cases.
- Joint pain: Isotretinoin can cause joint pain, stiffness, and arthritis-like symptoms in some people. While these side effects are rare, they may persist even after treatment is discontinued.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: While rare, isotretinoin has been linked to an increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions can lead to long-term gastrointestinal problems.
If you’re looking for more information on different medication side effects , be sure to check out our previous article:
What are the Long-term and Rare Side Effects of Ibuprofen?
How to reduce side effects of isotretinoin
This tips will help you to reduce side effects of accutane:
- Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions: It is important to take isotretinoin exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not take more or less than the prescribed dose, and do not take it for longer than recommended.
- Moisturize: Isotretinoin can cause dryness of the skin and lips. It’s important to use a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. You can also use lip balm to prevent dry and cracked lips.
- Protect your skin from the sun: You should protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Stay hydrated: It’s important to drink plenty of water while taking isotretinoin to prevent dehydration, which can worsen dryness of the skin and lips.
- Avoid waxing: accutane can make the skin more fragile and sensitive, which can increase the risk of skin damage during waxing. It’s best to avoid waxing while taking isotretinoin.
- Use eye drops: this pills can cause dryness and irritation of the eyes. Using over-the-counter eye drops can help relieve these symptoms.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help support overall health and may help reduce the risk of some side effects.
- Report any side effects to your healthcare provider: If you experience any side effects while taking isotretinoin, it’s important to report them to your healthcare provider right away. Your healthcare provider may be able to adjust your dose or provide treatment to help manage the side effects.
It’s crucial to remember that even though these suggestions can lessen the likelihood and severity of side effects, some adverse effects may still manifest. Before beginning therapy, it’s crucial to go over any possible dangers and advantages of isotretinoin with your doctor. You should also let them know if you have any side effects.