Accutane is poison for the meibomian glands. It can lead to a lifetime of chronic eye pain from severe meibomian gland atrophy, gland malfunction.
If you are on Accutane or know someone who is, get off of it ASAP. Having a great complexion is not worth a lifetime of chronic eye pain or any of the chronic issues below.
Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS
Many of our clients have been on Accutane™ (isotretinoin); but what’s surprising is that so many of them have been on it for two or three courses to get their acne under control. One client admitted to having gone through the Accutane™ regimen seven times. Some of them didn’t get any benefit at all; however, most of them experienced significant clearing, but to their dismay, started breaking out again within months of stopping the medication. So, how disappointing is that?? They took huge health risks (again and again) for only a short term benefit? I don’t think most people know what the risks really are from taking “the tane,” so that’s what I would like to talk about here.
Roche Holding AG, pulled Accutane™ acne medicine from the U.S. market after juries awarded at least $33 million in damages to users who blamed the drug for bowel disease. Many have been relegated to using colostomy bags for the rest of their lives. This is just one of the multitude of side effects attributed to Accutane. Let’s talk about the others.
The FDA posted an alert in 2005 that said all patients taking Accutane™ should be closely watched for serious symptoms including:
- suicidal tendencies
- short tempers
- loss of social interaction
- loss of motivation
- changes in appetite
If any of these symptoms begin to appear, the patient is advised to stop taking Accutane™ and to seek professional advice. In 2002, a director for the FDA told a congressional committee that they received over 3,000 reports of adverse psychiatric symptoms and over 170 reports of suicide attempts connected to the use of Accutane.
There is such a high risk of birth defects, miscarriage and fetal death, that women of child bearing age are only allowed to get a one month supply (even though the prescribed regimen is for 5 months) and cannot receive another until the doctor has determined that the woman is not pregnant and is on at least two forms of birth control.
Is Accutane™ Dangerous?
Accutane™ can cause other severe and even tragic side effects and psychiatric problems, including:
- Crohn’s disease
- central nervous system injuries
- skeletal damage
- liver damage
- cardiovascular injuries
- bone and muscle loss
- ulcerative colitis
- immune system disorder
Heard enough? Well how long after you’ve gotten off Accutane™ are you going to feel confident that you’ve dodged the bullet and haven’t caused irreparable damage to your body. Will the side effects show up in months, years, twenty or thirty years. Who knows?
The easiest and most efficacious way to get rid of acne is to use the right products for your type of acne in the right way, none of which have side effects more than maybe some dry skin every now and then. Even the cases of acne that Accutane™ works best for, inflamed acne, is the easiest to control with products.
I know that most people suffering from acne just want to be done with it and have tried every product under the moon. They may be using some good products, but it is mainly how the products are used that makes the difference in clearing your skin and not.
Coaching clients in how to use safe products correctly is what Face Reality Acne Clinic excels in; and helps people to get better results than Accutane™, often in less time.
If you are at the end of your rope and are desperate enough to consider taking it, please call or email us first to let you know what your alternatives are. We have a safe and effective way of getting rid of acne!
I’m a young woman with real bad acne. I’ve heard Accutane is very good for acne but is dangerous. When is Accutane used and what problems can occur from it?
People with severe acne that does not respond to other medications are candidates for taking Accutane. Accutane is the brand name for isotretinoin, a class of drugs called retinoids.
Isotretinoin (Accutane) is taken by mouth, usually once or twice a day for 16 to 20 weeks. It appears to reduce the size of the oil glands so that much less oil is produced. It also reduces cell shedding and the stickiness of cells in the follicles. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is generally very effective in helping prevent extensive scarring in patients with severe acne. After 16 to 20 weeks of treatment, their acne is completely (or nearly completely) one in most (up to 90%) of cases. For some people, however, the acne will come back, and they will need additional treatment with isotretinoin.
All acne patients should carefully consider the several disadvantages of isotretinoin. The drug is not only expensive but it also has some significant adverse effects. Possible side effects include inflammation of the lip and mucous membrane of the eye; dry mouth, nose, or skin; itching; nosebleeds; muscle aches; photosensitivity; and, rarely, decreased night vision. Other more serious side effects include increased blood cholesterol, lipid, and triglyceride levels and abnormal liver enzymes. To make sure isotretinoin is stopped if these side effects occur, the doctor usually monitors a patient’s complete blood count, blood chemistries, cholesterol, triglycerides, and liver enzymes before therapy is started and periodically during treatment. All of these side effects usually go away after the medication is stopped. If you experience side effects while using isotretinoin, you should tell your doctor. The doctor may be able to reduce the dose of the drug so that the side effects are decreased or stopped.
The most alarming adverse effect of isotretinoin (Accutane) is that it is teratogenic: it can cause birth defects in the developing fetus if a woman takes it during pregnancy. Therefore, it is crucial that women of childbearing age are NOT pregnant and do NOT get pregnant while taking isotretinoin.
If you (or any woman in the childbearing years) is to take isotretinoin (Accutane), you must use an appropriate birth control method for 1 month before therapy begins, during the entire course of therapy, and for 1 full month after therapy stops. You should talk to your doctor about when it is safe to get pregnant after the treatment with isotretinoin (Accutane) has been stopped.
In sum, isotretinoin (Accutane) is highly effective in clearing up severe acne but it is does have some side effects and it is dangerous for women during pregnancy because it can cause birth defects in their children. As with all medications, you should only take isotretinoin (Accutane) with caution.