Answers on Accutane for Acne


When taken for approximately four to five months, Accutane has been proven to be an extremely effective treatment for a severe form of acne known as cystic or nodular acne. In fact, for those suffering from severe cystic acne, Accutane has proven to be nothing short of a miracle.

But Accutane, a prescription medication, has a number of possible serious side effects. Among these are dry, peeling skin a sudden inability to see in the dark (so night driving can be dangerous); intracranial pressure, which can lead to permanent loss of sight, or in rare instances, death. Another possible side effect is inflammation of the liver, which can be detected by blood tests. For this reason, periodic blood tests are performed on patients undergoing Accutane treatment. Fortunately, I didn’t see this effect very often in my patients who used Accutane unless they were also consuming alcohol or taking other prescription medications.

There has also been a link between taking Accutane and mental depression and suicide. If your physician prescribes Accutane, consider increasing your daily intake of essential fatty acids and be sure to eat salmon once a day. Probably the most common side effect of Accutane that I saw in my practice was severe dry skin, lips and nasal passages. Due to the potentially very serious side effects of Accutane, I strongly recommend that you consult with your dermatologist and refer to the FDA’s website page devoted to Accutane that provides a comprehensive look at the risks and benefits of this treatment.

Research into various retinoid treatments for acne is ongoing. Other topical retinoids are now being used that tend to be less irritating to the skin, although I have not observed this in my practice when prescribing these alternative retonoids. What questions do you have about acne?

Visit this page for more acne related resources.

3 thoughts on “Answers on Accutane for Acne

  1. Hi Dr. I’ve had acne ever since I was in high school. I am 25 now and it seems that my acne is never going to go away. I haven’t been on accutane, but I’ve had everything from $10,000 laser treatments to antibiotics, retin-a, and now i’m on birth control which has helped, but I still get breakouts- cystic. I eat pretty healthy and I try to follow a good diet. I’ve done detox and everything. Do you think Accutane would be a good treatment? the dermatologist i’ve been to never want to prescribe it.

    • Hi Rose!

      I’ve had acne since my teens, spent thousands of dollars on skincare products that didn’t work, antibiotics that only gave me nasty side effects, facials, peels etc etc. The ONLY thing that’s ever helped me is Accutane. It’s fantastic! The only side effect I got was dry lips. I say go for it!

  2. My acne is nowhere near severe, but I have been struggling with it for the past three years now. I’ve considered asking my derm to prescribe a very low dose of Accutane (there are some pretty interesting articles on low dose intake for Accutane) which have been proven to have less and in some instances, nonexistent side effects. The only thing is, I know how hard it is to get a doctor to prescribe this medicine due to the adverse effects on the human body. I have tried upping my dosage of Vitamin A, but no more than 10,000iu, with some success! Though, I am still not 100% clear. I have considered the thought that my acne is primarily due to stress. I am currently a student, have a job, bills to pay, loans to pay off, family to help financially (as much possible) and pets to feed. So, it is hard not to get myself feeling stressed and the acne does not help, either. Good luck to those of you who suffer from acne, my prayers go out to you.


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