Many of our clients at Face Reality Acne Clinic , 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 different 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.
Just three weeks ago, (this article was originally published in July 2009) 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 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 depression, suicidal tendencies, sadness, short tempers, anger, loss of social interaction, psychosis, loss of motivation and 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. 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, pancreatitis, immune system disorder, depression, and suicide.
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?
Most cases of acne can be cleared up with using the right products 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.
A good homecare regimen using safe products, in conjunction with proper coaching is a much more effective approach, (and can often be achieved in less time). It is best to explore alternatives before putting your health and life at risk using such a dangerous drug as Accutane.