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Accutane - Medical Malpractice
Accutane is a medicine used for severe acne. It has been recalled by the US FDA in recent times due to intolerable side effects. Usually antibiotics are used for acne but in severe cases, acne is treated with Accutane. Accutane is called isotretinoin and works by decreasing the substances that go on to make blemishes and pimples.
Accutane is usually taken twice daily with meals. You cannot take any amount of the medicine not prescribed by the doctor due to side effects and long term problems. The medication must be swallowed as a whole tablet and cannot be chewed or sucked on. You need to drink a full glass of water when you take the medication. The dose may be changed by the doctor, depending on how well you do taking the medication and what is going on with your acne. It can take several weeks before acne is controlled with Accutane. Sometimes the acne worsens a bit before it gets better. It doesn't mean, however, that the medicine won't eventually do the job.
You need to tell the doctor if you are allergic to isotretinoin, parabens or any other part of an Accutane tablet or capsule. Tell your doctor about other medications you are taking, including herbal medications and over the counter medications you take on a regular basis. Make a special point of telling the doctor if you are taking tetracycline, oral steroids, and vitamin A supplements. You may need to have an adjusted dose of Accutane if you are on these medications. If you or someone in your family is prone to suicide, you need to tell the doctor. Mention to the doctor if you have depression, osteoporosis, diabetes, asthma or high triglycerides. Tell your doctor if you have a family history of Crohn's colitis or ulcerative colitis. Liver disease and heart disease history should be discussed.
You cannot breastfeed if you are taking Accutane or for one month after stopping the medication. You can't be exposed to the sun when you are taking Accutane because it might sensitize the skin. Your mental health can change with Accutane so pay attention to that. Your eyes may be too dry to wear contact lenses while you are on Accutane and you might need to use eye drops to lubricate the eyes. You might not be able to see in the dark while on Accutane because it affects night vision. If you wax your hair, you can get scar tissue formation if on Accutane. This is also true if you have microdermabrasion or laser skin treatments. Stop Accutane for at least six months before you do any of these skin treatments. You are more prone to bony injuries in sports or other activities when taking Accutane.
Side effects of Accutane include skin dryness, nose dryness, eyes or mouth dryness, sore or cracked lips, nose bleeds, skin peeling, skin color changes, slow healing of wounds, swollen gums, unwanted growth of hair, sweating, flushing, voice changes, fatigue or cold symptoms. More severe side effects from Accutane that have resulted in its being recalled include the onset of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease as well as its strong risk of birth defects in women who take Accutane and get pregnant. It is recommended that you take two forms of birth control while on Accutane so you definitely do not get pregnant.
Other serious side effects from taking Accutane are headaches, nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, problems with speech, seizures, abdominal pain, pain with swallowing or chest pain, frequent urination, rapid heartbeat, muscle weakness, rash or swelling of your face, arms or legs.
It is recommended that a person not try to get pregnant for several months after stopping Accutane because the medication needs to be completely out of the system so that birth defects do not occur. You can also not give blood while on Accutane and for at least a month after quitting the medication. You need to take birth control at least a month before starting to take Accutane.LEGAL HELPLINE: ☎ 855 804 7125
The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here