Isotretinoin is an active ingredient in the prescription drug available under the brands Sortret, Zenatane, Myorisane, Claravis, Amnesteem and Absorica.
Doctors prescribe isotretinoin for the treatment of severe acne.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially approved isotretinoin as the trademark Accutane in 1982. HoffmannLaRoche manufactured this drug.
Hoffmann La Roche ceased production of Accutane in 2009, in part because of numerous lawsuits filed against the company, due to birth defects caused by the drug.
In addition, the complaints of the plaintiffs included a disability that forced them to miss work and lose wages.
Isotretinoin and birth defects
Today, women and men should follow the recommendations before taking isotretinoin.
iPLEDGE requires that you, your doctor and pharmacist follow certain specific instructions to ensure your safety and prevent pregnancy while you are being treated with this medication.
Although the requirements vary depending on your gender and stage of life, iPLEDGE requires that people who are able to give birth should use two forms of contraception when taking isotretinoin.
Isotretinoin and hair loss
One of the main side effects of isotretinoin is that it dries tissues, causing dry skin, cracked lips, dry mucous membranes and dry scalp.
This can lead to the formation of fine hair or cause dryness and brittleness.
Some people can become bald.
Although hair growth may resume several months after discontinuation of isotretinoin, some people report that it took several years.
Others say that isotretinoin caused permanent hair loss.
The FDA issued two warnings for isotretinoin.
The first requires that the drug is taken in accordance with the program iPLEDGE.
The second is a ban on the use of drugs by women who are pregnant or can become pregnant.
The FDA also warns people who use isotretinoin that the drug can cause serious skin reactions, some of which can endanger life.
You should not take isotretinoin if you:
- Pregnant or plan a pregnancy
- Allergy to isotretinoin or any other ingredients of the drug
- Allergy to soybean oil
Talk with your doctor before taking isotretinoin, if you have:
- Certain moods or mental states
- Cancer of the bone
- Soft or fragile bones and a tendency to fracture of bones (osteomalacia)
Pregnancy and isotretinoin
Isotretinoin can cause serious birth defects and miscarriages. It should never be taken during pregnancy.
Isotretinoin passes into breast milk, so it is also not safe to take it during breastfeeding.
- Changes in the texture of nails and skin
- Thinning hair and brittleness
- Dryness of mouth, nose, ears, throat and anus
- Weight loss
Serious side effects
- Bone fragility and other bone disorders
- Inflammation of the liver
- Changes in vision
- Depression and suicide
Tell your doctor all the medicines that you take.
Do not take isotretinoin if you are taking, for example, vibramycin or demeclocycline (Declomycin, Declostatin, Ledermycin).
Avoid taking isotretinoin if you are taking:
- (Soriatane, Neotigason)
- Avage Creams
- Tazarotin (foam or gel Fabior)
Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking isotretinoin if you use:
- Any creams, detergents or lotions from acne, such as benzoyl peroxide or adapalene
- Phenytoin (Fenitek) or carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro)
Isotretinoin and alcohol
You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol when taking isotretinoin.
Isotretinoin and grapefruit juice
The liver processes isotretinoin in several different ways, one of which is the same as that of grapefruit juice.
Avoid eating grapefruit and its juice while you are taking isotretinoin.
Dosage of isotretinoin
Your doctor will prescribe your dose and course of treatment based on your weight.
Take isotretinoin quickly with a full glass of water, which prevents its stay in the esophagus and its irritation.
Some brands should be taken with food or milk.
If you suspect an overdose, you should immediately contact a toxicology center or an emergency room.
The missed dose of isotretinoin
If you miss a dose of isotretinoin, try to take it as soon as you remember.
If it’s time for the next dose, just skip it and take the next dose as usual.
Do not take two doses of isotretinoin at the same time.