Book health & wellness appointments instantly


Accutane is a powerful drug for treating severe nodular acne.

Accutane Side Effects

Accutane is responsible for a plethora of unpleasant potential side effects, both emotional and physical. During treatment, it is common to experience depression, violent thoughts, anxiety, sadness, anger, irritability, aggression, a lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating. Accutane can spur difficulty sleeping, crying spells, and a change in appetite (hence the likelihood of weight fluctuation).

Physically, common side effects are dry lips, dry mouth, minor swelling of the eyelids or lips, crusty skin, nosebleeds, upset stomach, and hair thinning. Accutane can also cause changes in skin color and nail strength, bleeding or swollen gums, unwanted hair growth, sweating, flushing, and voice changes.

Who shouldn't use it: Women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant are prohibited from taking Accutane (as well as any other form of isotretinoin). Accutane can incite premature labor and cause birth defects.

If you have a personal or family history of depression, mental illness, anorexia, suicide, asthma, osteoporosis, high triglycerides (increased fat content in the blood), or heart and liver disease, avoid Accutane.

Accutane should not be taken if you have an allergy to soybeans or parabens (a type of preservative found in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals).

Drawbacks: Accutane is accompanied by a laundry list of potential side effects, some of which are extremely severe, uncomfortable, and undesirable.

Manufacturer warnings: Accutane must not be used by female patients who are or may become pregnant. There is an extremely high risk that severe birth defects will result if pregnancy occurs while taking Accutane in any amount, even for short periods of time. Potentially any fetus exposed during pregnancy can be affected. There are no accurate means of determining whether an exposed fetus has been affected.

Birth defects which have been documented following Accutane exposure include abnormalities of the face, eyes, ears, skull, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and thymus and parathyroid glands. Cases of IQ scores less than 85 with or without other abnormalities have been reported. There is an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, and premature births have been reported.

Documented external abnormalities include: skull abnormality; ear abnormalities (including anotia, micropinna, small or absent external auditory canals); eye abnormalities (including microphthalmia); facial dysmorphia; cleft palate. Documented internal abnormalities include: CNS abnormalities (including cerebral abnormalities, cerebellar malformation, hydrocephalus, microcephaly, cranial nerve deficit); cardiovascular abnormalities; thymus gland abnormality; parathyroid hormone deficiency. In some cases death has occurred with certain of the abnormalities previously noted.

If pregnancy does occur during treatment of a female patient who is taking Accutane, Accutane must be discontinued immediately and she should be referred to an Obstetrician-Gynecologist experienced in reproductive toxicity for further evaluation and counseling.

Special Prescribing Requirements

Because of Accutane's teratogenicity and to minimize fetal exposure, Accutane is approved for marketing only under a special restricted distribution program approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This program is called iPLEDGE. Accutane must only be prescribed by prescribers who are registered and activated with the iPLEDGE program. Accutane must only be dispensed by a pharmacy registered and activated with iPLEDGE, and must only be dispensed to patients who are registered and meet all the requirements of iPLEDGE.

Recovery Time For Accutane

Accutane weakens bone structure, so it could be risky to engage in physical activities - especially contact sports - while taking it. The chances of injury are greater and you'll be more likely to scar.

After care for Accutane: If you experience dry mouth, try sucking on hard candies and ice chips to encourage the flow of saliva. Avoid tetracycline and all forms of vitamin A while taking Accutane. If you forget to take a dose, continue your regular cycle - doubling up could be dangerous.

Accutane increases your sensitivity to the sun, so avoid prolonged exposure to UV light. When venturing outside in daylight, wear sunglasses, protective clothing, and sunscreen. Avoid waxing, lasers, and dermabrasion for six months after your last pill.

You will be unable to donate blood for a month after treatment ends. Do not get pregnant, as Accutane causes birth defects.

Find experts who offer Accutane near you