I took Accutane years back for a couple of cycles and it worked well on my acne. I have run into a few very scary reports on Accutane and the dangers that it poses to acne sufferers. I know that in my youth I did not care about side effects of any medication because of course I would not be a statistic but these reports are making me very nervous for the youth of today that are following the same treatments that I did.
Accutane, the final frontier…for Acne. For ages, acne sufferers had only a few treatment options available to them, many with less than stellar results. Also, they needed to go through the pain staking task of applying prescription topical medications along with taking oral medications. Even then, the more severe cases would never fully be healed. However, nowadays, for those severe acne sufferers there is a “miracle” drug that does the job and does it well. This drug of which i speak, my friends, is Accutane, the Acne Killer.
Accutane is used to treat severe cases of acne which have not been healed through conventional antibiotics and topical creams. It is used to control all of the underlying causes of acne by normalizing your follicles, decreasing sebum production, reducing inflammation and limiting the growth of bacteria. Accutane treatment typically lasts from 4 to 6 months. It is also very costly ranging from $2000 to $4000 (depending on frequency of dermatological visits, lab tests, etc.). Other names for accutane include Amnesteem, Claravis, Isotretinoin and Sotret.
But wait, there is always some sort of “bad” that comes with the “good”. Although Accutane is the most powerful acne medication to date, it has many side effects that prevent many dermatologists from prescribing it to every acne sufferer. It should only be prescribed in worst case scenarios where all other treatments have failed. Even then, the acne sufferer should be aware of it’s side effects, the worst of which is suicide!
The FDA posted an alert in 2005 that said all patients taking accutane should be closely watched for serious symptoms including depression, suicidal tendencies, sadness, short tempers, anger, loss of social interaction, psychosis, loss of motivation and changes in appetite. If any of these symptoms begin to appear, the patient is advised to stop taking accutane and to seek professional advice. In 2002, a director for the FDA told a congressional committee that they received over 3,000 reports of adverse psychiatric symptoms and over 170 reports of suicide attempts connected to the use of Accutane.
In order to decide whether this treatment is right for you; you should discuss with your doctor how severe your acne is, what other treatments you’ve tried, the possible benefits of accutane, the possible side effects of accutane and any other health related issues that may affect you while taking accutane (i.e. use of antibiotics, depression, etc.)