Teratogenic Acne Medication
Isotretinoin, sold under the brand names Accutane and Roaccutane, is a medication derived from vitamin A used to treat severe, treatment-resistant acne. Isotretinoin is a powerful teratogen known to cause severe, life-threatening birth defects when taken by women during any stage of pregnancy.
Isotretinoin is prescribed for the treatment of severe nodular acne. It may not be recommended for less severe forms of acne, such as blackheads or small pustules, and is generally viewed as a last line of treatment due to the potential for causing severe side effects. Other oral treatments, including zinc and the antibiotics minocycline or tetracycline, are often recommended over isotretinoin for less severe acne.
Isotretinoin differs from other acne treatments in that it directly affects DNA processes in cells, decreases the size of oil glands and prevents acne formation at the cellular level. According to Acne.org, isotretinoin cures or significantly reduces severe acne in 95 percent of cases, making it the most effective treatment for severe types of acne like acne fulminans and acne conglobata.
Isotretinoin is a potent teratogen, known for causing fatal defects in the skull, heart and brain of the developing fetus. According to March of Dimes, birth defects associated with isotretinoin include microencephaly (small brain and head), mental retardation, cleft palate, heart defects and facial malformations.
Isotretinoin is available only through the iPledge program, which requires patients of childbearing age to use birth control measures to prevent pregnancy while taking the medication. According to Drug Information Online, taking even one dose of isotretinoin while pregnant can cause serious birth defects. Both male and female patients taking isotretinoin are required to join the iPledge program.
In addition to its teratogenic effects, isotretinoin can also cause psychological side effects, which can sometimes be severe. According to RxList, depression, psychosis and suicidal ideation are possible side effects of isotretinoin.
Less severe side effects, such as dry skin, dizziness and drowsiness are more likely to occur. Physical side effects including skin infections, nosebleeds and joint pain may also occur in patients taking isotretinoin.
Not everyone taking isotretinoin will experience side effects. Certain factors may increase your chances of experiencing certain side effects like depression. Tell your doctor before taking isotretinoin if you have a history of psychological problems or physical conditions including osteoporosis, heart disease or liver impairment.
When dirt, oil and bacteria plug the hair follicles in the skin, the bacteria causes an infection th...
Approximately 17 million people suffer from acne in the United States, reports the University of Vir...
If you are one of the 40 to 50 million Americans with mild to moderate acne, you most likely spot-tr...
Overview The Acne Resource Center reports that acne is one of the most common skin diseases in the U...
There are plenty of acne medications that work by fighting off bacteria on the face, speeding up ski...
Acne breakouts are an extremely common skin ailment that typically occurs during periods that are ma...