Accutane doesn’t have to be a scary experience. In reality, when used appropriately, Accutane can be life changing! For patients who experience severe recalcitrant acne (meaning, severe acne that does not stay clear when using other medications or treatments), Accutane is sometimes the last resort and the treatment that FINALLY clears up your acne for good!
Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Accutane is the only prescription acne medication that not only decreases the bacteria that causes acne, but also decreases sebaceous gland production of sebum. Other medications do not address both of these acne-causing factors. Although there are potential side effects of Accutane, we rarely experience serious side effects and we spend a significant amount of time reviewing what to watch out for.” Most patients try and fail numerous medications prior to starting Accutane therapy. Commonly tried medications include retin-a, Tazorac, Doryx, Solodyn, spironolactone, Acanya, and Epiduo. Many patients also try in-office laser and light-based treatments, including Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) and the Isolaz acne treatment. For patients who do not respond to any of these treatments, Accutane is often a great treatment option.
A typical course of Accutane lasts for six months, during which no other medications are used. The most commonly seen side effect of Accutane is dry skin, which can be managed with excellent moisturizers. Accutane is taken one to two times daily. It is important that all patients taking Accutane be enrolled in the iPledge system, which helps to familiarize you with potential side effects of the medication and aims to prevent females from becoming pregnant while taking Accutane.