Long term accutane side effects (isotretinoin), may include birth defects, hair loss, crohn's disease (see the page on yeast infections to see the relationship to crohn's disease), ulcerative colitis, back pain, and liver damage just to name a few.
It's used as a cancer and acne treatment and is a retinoid derived from vitamin A. Even with these side effects the reviews and results for accutane can be seen in before and after pictures where a patients skin has shown remarkable healing.
This medication is also popularly known as claravis and amnesteem. It is better known by the name accutane in the United States.
There's a good reason to think twice about taking Accutane. The FDA only approves its use for the most extreme cases of acne vulgaris. This means severe acne like cystic acne, nodulocystic acne, scars, boils, rosacea, and chloracne (an eruption of blackheads or cysts) that has not responded to any other treatments such as topical retinoids (a milder form of vitamin A), hormones, antiboitics or benzoyl peroxide.
Accutane Side Effects
Many serious accutane side effects are attributed to the intake of isotretinoin. Some are long term/permanent and some may be temporary. These accutane side effects can include:
Accutane Birth Defects
Women are strictly warned not to take Accutane if they are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. Accutane is a teratogen agent which means it causes birth defects due to medication, environmental, drug, and maternal disease exposures. Because it's so important that an unborn fetus be protected against any birth defects that accutane side effects might cause, the FDA has precautions in place to regulate its use. Also, it should be noted that excess ingestion of vitamin A is dangerous for pregnant women and should be limited to 700 mcg a day. Here are some of the birth defects a fetus could encounter from accutane exposure:
On August 12, 2005, the U.S. FDA put a system called iPLEDGE in place where practitioners who wished to carry and prescribe Accutane must be registered. Also the patient who will receive the medication must sign a document saying they are not pregnant and do not intent to get pregnant. This program was created due to babies being born with the the serious conditions mentioned above and to stop accutane side effects from harming babies.
Accutane Results and Brands
The before and after photos are remarkable. For about 80% of patients who use the medicine, significant changes can be seen after treatment has ended. A patients skin can go from being completely covered in pimples, boils, etc., to a much clearer state. These are positive accutane side effects.
The results are more remarkable than other medications due to its ability to reduce sebum which is an oil producing gland. It also kills the acne bacteria itself called propionibacterium acnes. Here are the isotretinoin brands from various manufactures around the globe:
Not everyone receives the same dosage of Accutane. Normal treatment lasts for 6 months but can last up to 11 months in severe cases. Depending on how severe the acne is and body weight is taken into consideration when a prescribing a dosage. Low or high doses can be administered. A low dosage does not have as many Accutane side effects but may require more than one course and consists of 10-20 mg/day. A high-dose treatment is effective and consists of 0.5 mg/kg/day to 2 mg/kg/day which can be divided into two separate doses.
The Accutane price with insurance varies depending on where you live and the pharmacy you choose. For some people, the cost can be around $200 monthly, while other claim they pay much more or much lower than that. The price with out insurance can usually range from $800-$2,000 monthly.
History and Today
In 1982, Dr. Gary Peck was the first to discover the use of isotertinoin as an acne treatment. Hoffmann-La Roche, a Swiss global healthcare company, is credited with developing the derivative of vitamin A, isotretinoin in 1982.
Since then, there has been Accutane related pregnancies ending in abortion and lack of proper pregnancy testing by some practitioners who administer the medication. For this reason the iPLEDGE system was born and regulated by the U.S. FDA. Multimillion dollar lawsuits have come against the Roche company due to Accutane side effects. Because Roche no longer has a hold on isotertinoins patents, since 2002, other companines have been able to market generic brands. Roche no longer manufactures Accutane in the United States but plans on doing so in other parts of the world under the name Roaccutane.