iPledge was introduced in March, 2006, as a distribution program for isotretinoin (Accutane.) The goal of iPledge is to prevent pregnancy in patients taking isotretinoin, therefore preventing fetal exposure to the teratogenic medication. While Accutane is a safe medication for most patients, it can cause birth defects in a developing fetus. For this reason, all female patients taking isotretinoin are required to log into the iPledge website each month and document two forms of contraception. In addition, prescribers must perform a pregnancy test each month for their female patients and document that it is negative prior to giving the isotretinoin prescription to their female patients. Male patients must also enroll in iPledge, though they are not required to follow many of the stringent guidelines of which women of childbearing potential must comply.
Dr. Schweiger tells us that, “Isotretinoin is an excellent medication; with proper oversight and compliance with iPledge, nearly all patients do very well with the medication. While there are potential side effects that we discuss with all of our isotretinoin patients, we rarely see any serious side effects. The iPledge system can be confusing at first, but most patients get the hang of it quickly.”