The medication isotretinoin has a brand name equivalent called Accutane.

In the US, the brand is no longer available. Isotretinoin is still offered in its generic form as well as several brand-name variations, like Absorica.

A nodular acne is a severe form of acne that can be treated with isotretinoin.

Red, puffy, sensitive lumps develop in the skin as a result of nodular acne.

Nodular acne can leave behind irreversible scarring if left untreated.

Isotretinoin will only be prescribed by your doctor if other therapies, such as antibiotics, have failed to treat your nodular acne.

Isotretinoin has a number of negative effects in addition to its ability to treat nodular acne.

Some of these side effects can be severe, particularly if the medication is used while pregnant.


Read on to find out more.


The most frequent adverse effects

Isotretinoin’s mild side effects might take the following forms:

  • Dry skin
  • Inflamed lips
  • Arid eyes
  • a dry nose, which could result in nosebleeds

These negative effects could go gone by themselves. Call your doctor if they persist or start to cause you problems.

Detrimental effects

Isotretinoin’s more severe adverse effects may be long-lasting or permanent. These side effects, other as elevated cholesterol and issues with the joints and muscles, are all quite uncommon.

Higher cholesterol

Your blood can include more lipids and cholesterol if you take isotretinoin. Your doctor might advise routine blood tests to monitor your cholesterol and fat levels throughout your treatment. You run a greater risk of developing these issues if you:

  • be diabetic
  • are chubby
  • suffer from metabolic syndrome
  • partake of booze

If you experience this adverse effect, it usually disappears once your isotretinoin treatment is through.

Muscle and joint issues

If you intend to engage in strenuous physical activity while taking isotretinoin, let your doctor know. The pain in your bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments can be brought on by isotretinoin. Teenagers’ lengthy bone growth may be slowed down, which could have long-lasting consequences. Call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • a new backache
  • Recent joint ache
  • Bone fracture

Tell any healthcare professional who treats you if you break a bone that you take isotretinoin.

If you experience muscle weakness, whether or not it is accompanied by discomfort, call your doctor right once and stop taking isotretinoin. A symptom of substantial muscular damage and a potential long-term consequence is muscle weakness.

Stress on the brain

Rarely, isotretinoin may lead to elevated cerebral pressure. This may result in lifelong vision loss and, in extreme circumstances, death. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop using isotretinoin and contact your doctor right away:

  • A very bad headache
  • Distorted eyesight
  • dizziness
  • dizziness and vomiting

Call 911 straight away if you experience either of these signs:

  • seizures
  • stroke

A skin rash

Although uncommon, an isotretinoin rash can be dangerous. If you have any of the following signs, stop using isotretinoin and contact your doctor right away:

  • Eye inflammation (pink eye)
  • a feverish rash
  • bumps on your face, legs, or arms
  • scaly skin
  • sores in your nose, eyes, mouth, or throat (on the lid or the eye itself)

Organ injury

Your internal organs may be harmed by isotretinoin. Your liver, pancreas, intestines, and esophagus are among these organs (the tube connecting your mouth and stomach). Even after you stop taking isotretinoin, the harm could not get better.

This negative consequence is uncommon. In spite of this, if you have any of the following signs, stop using isotretinoin and contact your physician straight away:

  • excruciating pain in your lower abdominal, chest, or stomach
  • Having difficulty swallowing or swallowing pain
  • a new or deteriorating heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • hemorrhage from the rectus muscle
  • Yellowing of the whites of your eyes or skin
  • Bloody urine

Hearing issues

In rare instances, isotretinoin can seriously impair hearing. If your hearing becomes worse or if you have ringing in your ears, stop using isotretinoin and contact your doctor right once. Any hearing loss could be irreversible.

Vision and eye issues

Isotretinoin can lead to visual issues including tunnel vision, double vision, and hazy vision. Your ability to see in the dark may also be affected by this medication. If you stop taking the medication, vision issues can go away on their own, but they might also be irreversible.

Your eyes may produce more tears than usual when taking isotretinoin. Wearing contact lenses while taking isotretinoin might be challenging for you. Similar to other eyesight issues, this issue may go away once treatment is stopped or it may be permanent.

All of these eye and vision issues are uncommon. Nevertheless, if you experience vision issues, a rise in tears, or severe or persistent eye dryness, stop taking isotretinoin and contact your doctor straight once.

Allergic responses

Rarely, the drug isotretinoin can lead to life-threatening adverse reactions. If you get a rash, red patches, or bruises on your legs, or if you develop a fever, stop taking isotretinoin and contact your physician. Stop taking isotretinoin if you experience any of the following symptoms, and dial 911 or visit the closest emergency room right away:

  • hives
  • swelling in your mouth or face
  • difficulty breathing

Diabetes and associated issues with blood sugar

Diabetes and other blood sugar issues may be brought on by isotretinoin. If you experience any of these signs, contact your doctor right away:

  • extreme thirst
  • frequent urination
  • Distorted eyesight
  • Growing tiredness

These could be drug-induced diabetes symptoms. But this result is uncommon.

Low amounts of red blood cells

A drop in the number of blood cells is another uncommon but severe side effect. Anemia is one of the issues that can result from low red blood cell counts. If you experience any of these signs, contact your doctor right away:

  • Extreme exhaustion
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • feeling chilly in your feet and hands
  • Fair skin

Low amounts of white blood cells

Your risk of infection increases if your white blood cell count is low. If you experience any of these signs, contact your doctor right away:

  • fever
  • recurring illnesses

This negative consequence is quite uncommon.

Difficulties with mental health

Isotretinoin can occasionally lead to severe mental health issues. These include suicidal ideas or behaviors, psychosis (losing touch with reality), and depression. If you have any of the following signs, stop using isotretinoin and contact your doctor right away:

  • A rise in melancholy
  • Periods of tears
  • Loss of interest in hobbies you once loved
  • Oversleeping or difficulty falling asleep
  • displaying signs of increased irritability, rage, or aggression
  • alterations in weight or appetite
  • lack of vigor
  • withdrawal from family or friends
  • difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • having thoughts of harming or killing oneself
  • Delusional states (seeing or hearing things that are not real)

Pregnancy alert

You must refrain from using isotretinoin if you are a female who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Pregnancy-related isotretinoin use carries a very significant risk of serious birth abnormalities. This holds true regardless of how much or how long the medicine is consumed.

If you find out you are pregnant while using isotretinoin, cease using it immediately away. Then, a gynecologist can provide you with more assessment and guidance.

Isotretinoin may result in birth abnormalities like:

  • Deformities of the head, ears, eyes, and face
  • issues with the thymus, parathyroid, and circulatory systems as well as the central nervous system
  • a lower IQ

Isotretinoin use has also been linked to miscarriages and premature births.


Consult your physician

As you can see, using isotretinoin carries a number of hazards. Consult your doctor if you have any more questions regarding these side effects. You might query things like:

  • Are there any side effects to which I could be more susceptible?
  • How can I lower the possibility of adverse effects?
  • How can I control the effects?
  • How long do you anticipate my isotretinoin therapy to last?
  • Are there any other medications I could use that would have less severe or fewer adverse effects?

If you’re unsure whether isotretinoin is the best medication for you, consult your doctor. They can also assist you in controlling any negative consequences.


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