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    Information about Isotretinoin

    Isotretinoin uses

    Isotretinoin is used in the treatment of acne.

    How isotretinoin works

    Isotretinoin works by slowing the production of certain natural substances that can cause acne.

    Common side effects of isotretinoin

    Anemia (low number of red blood cells), Reduced blood platelets, Eyelid inflammation, Conjunctivitis, Dry eye, Eye irritation, Dry skin, Dermatitis, Exfoliative dermatitis, Itching, Increased liver enzymes

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    Expert advice for Isotretinoin

    • Do not take isotretinoin, if you are allergic to isotretinoin, vitamin A or any other ingredients of the capsule.
    • Follow adequate contraceptive measures while on treatment with oral or topical isotretinoin.
    • Do not use if you are planning to become pregnant, already pregnant or breast feeding.
    • Women must use at least two methods of contraception while using isotretinoin to avoid becoming pregnant. Even men receiving isotretinoin must use contraception.
    • Do not take vitamin A supplements with isotretinoin.
    • Use sunscreen to protect skin from sunlight and UV rays (like sunlamps or tanning beds) while on isotretinoin treatment.
    • Do not use waxing for hair removal or do any dermabrasion or lazer skin treatments while on therapy with isotretinoin.
    • Do get your blood lipid levels, liver function, blood cell count and pregnancy test done before starting isotretinoin.
    • Do not donate blood till 30 days have passed after last capsule is taken.

    Frequently asked questions for Isotretinoin


    Q. Is isotretinoin a steroid?

    No, isotretinoin is not a steroid

    Q. Is isotretinoin effective?

    Isotretinoin is effective when used for indication and at doses advised by the doctor

    Q. Can it be used for oily skin?

    It should not be used merely to treat oily skin

    Q. Can it be used for mild acne and does it clear scars permanently?

    It should not be used for mild acne but only for severe acne which has not responded to other treatment. It may not clear scars permanently

    Q. How long can I use isotretinoin?

    Isotretinoin has to be used for at least 4-6 weeks. Please follow the advice of the doctor regarding the duration of use and do not self-medicate or use for extended period of time

    Q. Can isotretinoin be taken with milk?

    Yes isotretinoin can be taken with milk

    Q. Does isotretinoin cause weight gain/weight loss/hair loss/affect menstrual cycle?

    Isotretinoin is not known to commonly cause weight gain/weight loss/hair loss/affect menstrual cycle

    Q. Can I take ibuprofen/ creatinine/ vitamins/ Tylenol (paracetamol)/ antibiotics with isotretinoin?

    There are no known drug-drug interactions between isotretinoin and ibuprofen/ creatinine/ vitamins other than Vitamin A/ Tylenol (paracetamol). However, vitamin A used in addition to isotretinoin can cause vitamin A toxicity. Tetracycline antibiotics and isotretinoin may lead to increase in pressure in the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Doctor's advice should be strictly followed about taking any medications along with isotretinoin

    Q. Is isotretinoin same as tretinoin/ Accutane?

    Accutane is the brand name for isotretinoin. Isotretinoin and tretinoin are different from each other, but they are forms of vitamin A and have similar indications of use

    Q. Is isotretinoin a permanent cure for acne?

    Isotretinoin is effective for severe acne not responding to other treatment. It does prevent acne from returning for a long time after a single course. However, in few cases, acne may return or flare-up.

    Content on this page was last updated on 23 October, 2017, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)