Common Questions About Accutane

Are you thinking about starting Accutane for acne? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make an educated decision about your skin!

What is Accutane? Accutane is a prescription medicine for severe acne and acne that is unresponsive to alternative treatments such as topical creams and oral antibiotics.

What are other names for Accutane? The generic name for Accutane is isotretinoin. Other brands include Amnesteem®, Claravis, Myorisan®, Absorica®, and Zenatane.

How does Accutane work? Accutane attacks excess oil production, clogged pores in the skin, too much of the bacteria P. acnes, and inflammation.

Will Accutane cure me? Treatment with Accutane can be a cure for acne in about 75% of patients. Some patients do not clear after one course of treatment, and the second course of treatment may be an option.

How long will I be on Accutane? Patients are on Accutane for approximately 5-6 months depending on weight and how well the side effects of the medication are tolerated.

What are the common side effects of Accutane? Common side effects include dry skin, dry eyes, chapped lips, dry nasal passages resulting in nosebleeds, and diminished ability to see in the dark.

Can Accutane cause birth defects? Accutane is known to cause severe birth defects if a woman takes the medication while pregnant. You should not take Accutane if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future.

What is iPLEDGE? The goals of iPLEDGE are to prevent pregnancies in females taking isotretinoin and to prevent pregnant females from taking isotretinoin. The iPLEDGE Program is a set of steps all patients, prescribers, and pharmacists must follow. iPledge requires all women to use two forms of effective birth control starting at least 1 month before starting Accutane, throughout therapy and for one month after.

Does Accutane cause depression? Many people worry that Accutane can cause mental health conditions. There have been a few reports of patients developing depression and having thoughts of suicide while taking Accutane. Advanced Dermatology takes these reports seriously. Research shows that people who have severe acne often become depressed. This is true for people who have never taken Accutane. Because we do not have enough evidence to tell whether this medicine can cause depression and other mental health conditions, we carefully monitor our patients for warning signs of depression at each monthly visit.

Is it safe to remove hair with wax while taking Accutane? Patients on Accutane should not wax as it can cause permanent scarring. You must not wax while taking Accutane and for up to 6 months after you stop the medication.

Does Accutane increase the risk of sunburn? Accutane can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. We recommend you wear sun protective clothing and sunscreen with at least 5% zinc oxide and SPF 30 or higher while taking Accutane.

How frequent are Accutane visits? Patients must be seen once a month while on Accutane.

What happens at Accutane visits? We will review your side effects and discuss your medication dose. We will also draw your blood at predetermined visits and perform a monthly pregnancy test if you are a woman.