Accutane is a doctor-prescribed drug that is used for treating severe nodular acne, otherwise known as cystic acne, which is a kind of condition that is manifested with painful, pus-filled acne bumps and redness on the skin. This drug has been made available ever since the early 80′s for patients who have become unresponsive to other forms of acne treatment, including systemic antibiotics.
Accutane should be taken two times a day, after meals and for a period of 15 to 20 weeks. Patients start off with a low dosage to gradually increase as per doctor’s advise.
Users must strictly follow what has been recommended by the doctor and should not change their treatment course without professional approval. If any signs of improvement are seen within a month or two after use, the medication may be discontinued.
The drug works to inhibit the production of sebum in the sebaceous gland within two weeks of the therapy. The acne also starts to reduce as Accutane’s components seep through the intrafollicular lipids, inhibiting organism growth. Redness also tends to decrease, as this medication has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
With some patients, however, sebum production goes back to the same condition after two months of use. This doesn’t mean that Accutane has stopped working, but that its mechanism is actually not predictable.
A great majority of Accutane users have received significant good results with its use. Following proper therapy, several patients are known to have undergone total remission from cystic acne within six months to one year. But according to the FDA, at least 25% of those who are treated with this medication sometimes require a new course of treatment, especially with younger patients between the ages of 16 to 18.
For all its advantages, Accutane has known side effects, which is why use of it must be properly monitored and administered by a health professional.
- Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant have to avoid this drug because it is known to cause birth defects. A pregnancy tests may be necessary before a married or committed woman undergoes Accutane therapy, or even while the treatment is ongoing.
- Accutane is also known to affect vision, particularly with seeing in the dark. Patients are, therefore, advised to avoid driving or operating machinery at night so that accidents do not happen.
- Accutane hastens weak bone development, such that people who are heavily into sports and are under this treatment may experience joint and muscle aches often, as well as require a lot of rests and downtime.
- The drug also affects the emotional and mental state of the patient. They may turn aggressive and violent, or develop depression, which is why it is important for doctors to make a psychological evaluation first before going ahead with the Accutane treatment.
- Certain medications and drugs may also counteract with use of Accutane, like Vitamin A, birth control pills, and heart medications. A medical and reproductive history may need to be assessed before the doctor gives the patient the approval to use Accutane.
Women patients under Accutane treatment are advised to join the iPLEDGE Program initiated by the FDA in 2005 for risk-management. Under this, they are required to present or login the following information every time they get a refill of their prescription:
- A negative pregnancy test;
- The kinds of birth control they use;
- Any other requirements that may be asked in the program.
Patients are also advised to never buy Accutane online, especially since this does not require any prescription. The drug may be effective but misuse of it can lead to serious consequences.