Accutane - How It Works and What It Treats

Accutane (Isotretinoin) is a certain form of vitamin A which works by decreasing the oil amount released by oil glands in the skin. Its use helps the skin renew itself faster. This medicine is taken to treat severe nodular acne.

How to Use Accutane Safely

Take this medication according to the directions of your doctor. Don't take it in higher doses or for longer than needed. Take regular doses with enough water, milk, or food. You may need regular blood and liver function tests to ensure that Accutane doesn't cause any harmful effects. The right dosage is based on your condition and individual tolerance. Get medical help if you have any overdose symptoms, such as dizziness, stomach pain, headaches, swelling, loss of coordination, etc.

Important Precautions

Don't use Accutane if you're pregnant because of severe birth defects. It's not clearly known whether it passes into breast milk, so nursing women should be careful. To ensure that this treatment is safe for you, tell doctors if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • Allergic reactions
  • High cholesterol or triglycerides levels in the blood
  • Depression or other mental illnesses
  • Osteoporosis and other bone disorders
  • Asthma or diabetes
  • Heart diseases
  • Liver problems
  • Eating disorders
  • Ulcerative colitis or other intestinal disorders
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It's not allowed to donate blood while undergoing this treatment. Don't use laser skin or dermabrasion treatments and wax hair removers while taking Accutane because of the risk of scarring. Avoid your direct exposure to UV rays and sunlight because this medication makes skin more sensitive to sunburns. Its intake may impair your vision, so be careful when driving or doing other things that require you to see clearly.

 

Potential Side Effects

Accutane may cause certain side effects, but most of them are mild and rare. Go to the hospital if you have any symptoms of allergic reactions, such as swelling, hives, or trouble breathing. Stop taking it and get medical help if you experience any severe side effects, including:

  • Sleep problems or trouble concentrating;
  • Sudden weakness or numbness;
  • Crying spells or depression;
  • Suicidal thoughts or unusual changes in behavior;
  • Agitation or aggression;
  • Hallucinations or seizures;
  • Hearing loss, hearing problems, or ringing in ears;
  • Blurred vision or dark urine;
  • Pain in eyes or severe headaches;
  • Chills and fever;
  • Severe skin peeling or blistering;
  • Rectal bleeding or clay-colored stools;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Tarry or bloody stools;
  • Yellow skin and eyes;
  • Joint stiffness and easy bleeding or bruising.

The mild side effects caused by Accutane include dizziness, drowsiness, itching, dry mouth, and some others. Call your doctor if any of them get worse.

Drug Interactions

To avoid drug interactions, don't take Accutane with seizure meds, steroids, tetracycline antibiotics, and vitamin A supplements. They may increase side effects and make it less effective.