Do Accutane Side Effects Outweigh the Benefits of Taking the Drug?

Accutane side effects have received a lot of media attention over the past few years. As a results, Accutane has become one of the most controversial drugs to treat cases of acne.

Also known as Isotretinoin or Roaccutane, this drug is commonly associated with some of the more serious side effects like malformations in fetuses, depression, or suicide. It is common to hear about the drug’s potential side effects before hearing about how it works. How does accutane work? Find out here.

It is derived from vitamin A and is taken in the oral form. Although vitamin A is necessary for your health, too much of it will build toxicity in your body. This is why many of the main accutane side effects develop.

What are examples of typical accutane side effects?

Accutane is known for keeping a patient’s skin clear for a long period of time after completing the required prescription dosages.

The most common Accutane / Roaccutane side effect is called “hypervitaminosis A” which is associated with high toxic levels of vitamin A. This can lead to dry and irritated skin, dry eyes, and dry and cracked lips. Others experience accutane hair loss or headaches. Also common are muscle aches and pain, and joint pain. Therefore, you should avoid vigorous exercise while on the drug.

What are examples of less typical accutane side effects?

Less common accutane or roaccutane side effects include colitis, inability to see clearly at night, hepatitis, and increased levels of lipids in the blood. Accutane may sometimes increase the level of blood fats to risky levels. Occasionally it may affect the liver by increasing liver enzymes. This is the reason why blood tests are necessary on a regular basis during the treatment. If these measures are all taken carefully, the risks may be reduced. Side effects are said to stop once a person stops taking Accutane.

Other more serious, though less common, accutane side effects include, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, changes in mood, severe stomach pain, diarrhea, bowel problems, calcium deposits in tendons (the significance of this is unknown), an increase in cholesterol levels, and yellowing of the skin.


Lupus is an inflammatory disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack a person’s own tissue. A link has been established between lupus and Accutane. There is no cure for lupus.

Pregnancy and Accutane

One of the more serious side effects involves pregnancy while on the drug. Accutane can interfere with the development of a fetus. The risk of this occurring is very very high. It only takes a small dose to have a serious impact on the fetus.

Not only can the unborn baby suffer physical deformation, but also mental disorders and developmental and social disorders.

In fact, the birth defect rate linked to Accutane is 90% in women taking Accutane. The best way to avoid this risk if you want to take the drug is to abstain from sex altogether. If you are taking the pill, you will need to use a second method of birth control at the same time. Make sure you consult with your doctor if you wish to use Accutane under these circumstances.

Finally, a pregnant woman can suffer a miscarriage.


A clear link between Accutane and depression has not yet been established. In previous studies, the proportion of those attempting suicide while using Accutane in comparison with the entire number of patients on Accutane, is not higher from the general percentage of those attempting suicide out of the entire population. However, it is still listed as a potential side effect and it is still a possible consequent of taking Accutane.

Skin Vulnerability

Another caution when taking Accutane is that your skin will not heal as quickly. Your skin will become more prone to scarring, even from such things as face waxing.

Failure of Accutane or Roaccutane or Isotretinoin

Sometimes even after a second or third course of Accutane an individual’s acne returns, or returns worse than it did before. The primary reasons for its failure include:

  • taking the incorrect dose for too short a time,
  • using other medications that counteract Accutane, and
  • hormonal irregulatiry in females.

Only after consulting with your doctor and considering the effects of Accutane and how serious your acne may (or may not) be, should you consider taking Accutane.

If you would like more first-hand information from those who have experienced Accutane, feel free to explore an online Accutane journal.

Click here for a natural alternative to accutane.

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