«Isotretinoin, also known as 13-cis-retinoic acid (and colloquially referred to by its former brand name Accutane or Roaccutane), is a medication primarily used to treat severe acne. Rarely, it is also used to prevent certain skin cancer (squamous-cell carcinoma), and in the treatment of other cancer. It is used to treat harlequin-type ichthyosis, a usually lethal skin disease, and lamellar ichthyosis. It is a retinoid, meaning it is related to vitamin A, and is found in small quantities naturally in the body. Its isomer, tretinoin, is also an acne drug.
Isotretinoin is primarily used as a treatment for severe acne. The most common adverse effects are a transient worsening of acne (lasting 1–4 months), dry lips (cheilitis), dry and fragile skin, and an increased susceptibility to sunburn. Uncommon and rare side effects include muscle ache and pains (myalgias), and headaches. Isotretinoin is known to cause birth defects due to in-utero exposure because of the molecule's close resemblance to retinoic acid, a natural vitamin A derivative which controls normal embryonic development. It is also associated with psychiatric side effects, most commonly depression but also, more rarely, psychosis and unusual behaviours. Other rare side effects include hyperostosis, and premature epiphyseal closure, have been reported to be persistent.
Modified: 6 months ago on Apr 7, 2019
6 months ago on Apr 7, 2019.