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Accutane is a medicine brand name, having Isotretinoin; marketed and sold by Hoffman-LaRoche. It is used to treat extreme cases of acne (cystic/nodular), a common skin disease that affects mostly teens. Its characteristics are red swollen lumps on the skin, which if untreated can become life long scars. The skin consists of oil glands which if overactive/blocked causes the accumulation of the skin pigments which causes the swelling. Therefore, Accutane being a vitamin (‘A’-form) helps in the faster renewal of your skin by reducing the amount of oil released by the oil glands.

Purchase of Accutane other than from iPLEDGE, (a special program that controls its distribution) is illegal. Its dosage depends on the patients’ weight and condition. Moreover, if taken during pregnancy, it causes severe birth defects in heart, brain and face. Therefore, before and after using Accutane, women capable of bearing children need to sign an agreement regarding the usage of birth control (primary and secondary) for both partners and a pregnancy test. Moreover, pregnant/nursing women need to consult the doctor. Avoid taking Accutane, if you have unprotected sex or stopped using birth control. Before taking it, you need to inform the doctor if you are allergic to any foods/drugs or have mental illness,
liver/cholesterol/heart/bone problems, diabetes, or asthma who may recommend special tests/dosages adjustments.

Accutane should be taken as prescribed on a full stomach and quickly to avoid it getting stuck in the food pipe which can cause irritation. You should consult the doctor if you have either missed a dosage or taken an overdose. Regular tests and check-ups for side effects during the medication are important. Moreover, during and after medication; avoid vitamin supplements, overexposure to sunlight; driving at night, donating blood or using skin treatments (laser, wax).

Accutanes’ side effects are related to its dosage, the more the dosage is the more is the effects and vice-versa. So, a balance between the two is required and regular check-ups are a must. Its side effects include insomnia, depression, allergic reactions, problems in stomach/vision/breathing/hearing/co-ordination; headache, vomiting, fever, swelling in face/lips/throat, sensation/weakness/stiffness/dryness in body and skin and many others.

Therefore, it can be said that due to the numerous side effects, its prescribed use
is considered only if all other options have failed to treat the acne.


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