Rated: 4.5 out of 10
Accutane is a strictly prescription medication used for the treatment of moderate to severe acne. While most people should stay away of this product due to the serious and harmful side effects, there are many cases of less scrupulous doctors prescribing Accutane for light cases of acne. The problem with this lies in the fact that some doctors are given incentives by the pharmaceutical companies to push certain products regardless of the side effects and negative consequences for the patient. Independent reviews are always the best source of information and that is why our team took a close look at Accutane and its effectiveness as an acne treatment.
What is Accutane?
Accutane is the most popular brand of the generic drug isotretinoin, a potent form on Vitamin A. While this vitamin actually occurs naturally in the body, in Accutane it does nothing different except that it is more potent than other types of Vitamin A.
Accutane is promoted to work best for severe nodular acne but our tests do not show it to work better on any one type of acne over another. Accutane acts systemically and so it is non-selective in what it treats. There has never been an agreed-upon dosage of Accutane for the treatment of acne, making it a considerably dangerous drug.
Accutane is 100% isotretinoin – a form of vitamin A that reduces secretions from the oil-producing glands in the skin. Accutane, also known as Roaccutane, was developed in 1979 from a naturally-occurring type of vitamin A. Accutane was first used as a chemotherapy drug to fight brain and pancreatic cancer, but other uses for this drug have since been discovered. For instance, Accutane is often prescribed to treat Harlequin type ichthyosis, a fatal skin disease.
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology reports Accutane is about 50 percent effective in treating severe acne. While this may seem like a promising number, consumers must keep in mind that Accutane is a drug strong enough to fight cancer and consequently many adverse effects have been known to occur.
Accutane Side Effects
Accutane is known among doctors for its severe side effects. Accutane side effects increase with dosage and can be potentially fatal if not used correctly. No matter what a doctor may say, Accutane is, under no circumstances, meant to be used for light cases of acne and never as a first means of treatment. Consumers should be wary of any dermatologist who prescribes this product for anything other than severe acne as the doctor may in fact have a hidden agenda.
Vitamin A in supplement form cannot be taken while on Accutane and pregnant women cannot take it due to potential “severe, life-threatening birth defects”. Other side effects of Accutane include:
- Severe stomach pain
- Severe depression leading to suicide
- Loss of feeling in one side of the body
- Blurred vision
- Hearing loss
- Seizures or convulsions
- Loss of appetite
- Body pain
- Joint and back pain
- Dry lips/front facial area
- Cracked skin
Accutane in produced by Roche pharmaceuticals but is only available by prescription through a medical doctor or dermatologist. Because Accutane’s potential side effects are so severe that before a patient can purchase this treatment they must sign a special promise note called iPLEDGE. The iPLEDGE certifies the patient has been counseled on the side effects and provides that females of child-bearing age be tested for pregnancy and promise to use two forms of birth control since birth defects are so disfiguring and severe.
Those still interested in Accutane can purchase it with a prescription for approximately $300.00 to $400.00.
Does Accutane Work?
Accutane has a success rate of 50 percent. Half is not a very good indicator of effectiveness. Furthermore, Accutane has so many dangerous side effects that most doctors actually believe it should be avoided by most everyone.
Our expert opinion dictates it should be used only as chemotherapy for cancer patients or in acne cases so severe and/or life-threatening that there is no other option. Very few people have acne of this severity. There are safer acne treatments available that are effective with virtually no side effects. To see for yourself which acne treatment is the most effective, continue on through our acne treatment reviews.