Accutane - Roaccutane (isotretinoin)
General Information on Accutane
Accutane, with active ingredient, isotretinoin, belongs to a class of drugs known as retinoid. The drug is used for treating severe acne which fails to respond to other medications. The drug is a form of Vitamin A. There are sebaceous glands present in our body which are responsible for producing oil. The drug works by reducing the size of these glands, thus reducing oil production and hence, reducing the problem of acne. The drug also helps in resolving keratinization. Keratanization is a medical condition which causes cells to multiply within the hair follicles, thus leading to acne.
Precautions/side effects of Accutane
The drug contains isotretenoin as the active ingredient. Patients allergic to isotretenoin should refrain from using this drug. Patients allergic to parabens should also not use this drug. Apart from that, patients with heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease or osteoporosis should take this drug only after consultation with a doctor.
Accutane is a Category X pregnancy drug which can lead to severe adverse effects on the fetus as well as the newborn. Thus, pregnant women as well as women who are breastfeeding should refrain from using this drug. The drug is also known to react with certain medications such as antibiotics like doxycycline, minocycline etc., medications used for treating seizures such as phenytoin, certain steroids like prednisone etc. Patients on any of these drugs should take Accutane only after consultation with a doctor.
The drug is also known to have certain side effects such as pain in the joints, dry mouth, rashes on the skin or dizziness. However, in certain cases, serious side effects may show up to the drug such as seizures, blurred vision, chills, bloody stool, dark colored urine, jaundice etc. If any of these symptoms show up after taking Accutane, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
Important safety information
- It is necessary to sign the iPledge program before taking the drug.
- Proper contraception should be used while taking the drug to avoid getting pregnant. The drug is known to have potentially fatal effects on the fetus.
- Vitamin A supplements should be avoided while taking the drug as well as for at least a month after stopping its usage to prevent serious side effects.
- Laser skin treatments or wax hair removers should be avoided while on the drug as well as for at least 6 months after stopping the use of the drug.
- Blood should not be donated while on Accutane as well as for at least a month after stopping its usage.
- A sunscreen lotion with an SPF of 30 should be applied while going out in the sun when uing Accutane. Accutane makes the skin prone to sunburns.
Dosage of Accutane
Accutane is available in 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg capsules. The usual dosage of the drug is 0.5 mg to 1 mg per kg of body weight daily. The dose is divided into two parts per day. However, the actual dosage depends on the severity of the condition.
The drug should be taken with food and glass of water to avoid stomach upsets. Overdose of the drug should be avoided at all costs. If a dose is missed, it should be taken as soon as possible. However, it should not be clubbed with the next dose. Overdose of the drug can cause serious symptoms such as seizure, severe rashes on the skin, jaundice etc. which need immediate medical attention.
Storage of Accutane
Accutane should be stored at room temperature not exceeding 30 degree Celsius. It should be stored in cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and out of reach of children and pets at all times.