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Accutane

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/9/2020
Accutane Side Effects Center

Pharmacy Editor: Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

What Is Accutane?

Accutane (isotretinoin) is a retinoid used for the treatment and prevention of severe acne. The brand name Accutane is discontinued in the U.S., but generic formulations are available.

What Are Side Effects of Accutane?

The most common side effects of Accutane are:

  • dry skin,
  • itching,
  • rash,
  • dry nose,
  • nosebleeds,
  • cracks in the corners of the mouth,
  • dry mouth,
  • dry lips,
  • cracking or peeling skin,
  • inflammation of the whites of the eyes,
  • dry eyes,
  • joint pain,
  • back pain,
  • dizziness,
  • drowsiness,
  • nervousness, or
  • changes in your fingernails or toenails.

Dosage for Accutane

The recommended dose of Accutane is 0.5 to 2 mg per kg of body weight daily.

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Accutane?

Accutane may interact with:

Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use.

Combining vitamin A with Accutane may increase side effects.

Accutane During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Accutane is harmful to the fetus and therefore should not be used during pregnancy. Accutane is harmful to the fetus and therefore should not be used during pregnancy. It is unknown if Accutane passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Additional Information

Our Accutane Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Accutane Consumer Information

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Stop using isotretinoin and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • problems with your vision or hearing;
  • muscle or joint pain, bone pain, back pain;
  • increased thirst, increased urination;
  • hallucinations, (see or hearing things that are not real);
  • symptoms of depression--unusual mood changes, crying spells, feelings of low self-worth, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, new sleep problems, thoughts about hurting yourself;
  • signs of liver or pancreas problems--loss of appetite, upper stomach pain (that may spread to your back), nausea or vomiting, fast heart rate, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
  • severe stomach problems--severe stomach or chest pain, pain when swallowing, heartburn, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, bloody or tarry stools; or
  • increased pressure inside the skull--severe headaches, ringing in your ears, dizziness, nausea, vision problems, pain behind your eyes.

Common side effects may include:

  • dryness of your skin, lips, eyes, or nose (you may have nosebleeds);
  • vision problems;
  • headache, back pain, joint pain, muscle problems;
  • skin reactions; or
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Accutane (Isotretinoin)

QUESTION

Acne is the result of an allergy. See Answer
Accutane Professional Information

SIDE EFFECTS

Clinical Trials and Postmarketing Surveillance

The adverse reactions listed below reflect the experience from investigational studies of Accutane (isotretinoin) , and the postmarketing experience. The relationship of some of these events to Accutane (isotretinoin) therapy is unknown. Many of the side effects and adverse reactions seen in patients receiving Accutane (isotretinoin) are similar to those described in patients taking very high doses of vitamin A (dryness of the skin and mucous membranes, eg, of the lips, nasal passage, and eyes).

Dose Relationship

Cheilitis and hypertriglyceridemia are usually dose related. Most adverse reactions reported in clinical trials were reversible when therapy was discontinued; however, some persisted after cessation of therapy (see WARNINGS and ADVERSE REACTIONS).

Body as a Whole

allergic reactions, including vasculitis, systemic hypersensitivity (see PRECAUTIONS: Hypersensitivity), edema, fatigue, lymphadenopathy, weight loss

Cardiovascular

palpitation, tachycardia, vascular thrombotic disease, stroke

Endocrine/Metabolic

hypertriglyceridemia (see WARNINGS: Lipids), alterations in blood sugar levels (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests)

Gastrointestinal

inflammatory bowel disease (see WARNINGS: Inflammatory Bowel Disease), hepatitis (see WARNINGS: Hepatotoxicity), pancreatitis (see WARNINGS: Lipids), bleeding and inflammation of the gums, colitis, esophagitis/esophageal ulceration, ileitis, nausea, other nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms

Hematologic

allergic reactions (see PRECAUTIONS: Hypersensitivity), anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, rare reports of agranulocytosis (see PATIENT INFORMATION). See PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests for other hematological parameters.

Musculoskeletal

skeletal hyperostosis, calcification of tendons and ligaments, premature epiphyseal closure, decreases in bone mineral density (see WARNINGS: Skeletal), musculoskeletal symptoms (sometimes severe) including back pain, myalgia, and arthralgia (see PATIENT INFORMATION), transient pain in the chest (see PATIENT INFORMATION ), arthritis, tendonitis, other types of bone abnormalities, elevations of CPK/rare reports of rhabdomyolysis (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests).

Neurological

pseudotumor cerebri (see WARNINGS: Pseudotumor Cerebri), dizziness, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, lethargy, malaise, nervousness, paresthesias, seizures, stroke, syncope, weakness

Psychiatric

suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, suicide, depression, psychosis, aggression, violent behaviors (see WARNINGS: Psychiatric Disorders), emotional instability

Of the patients reporting depression, some reported that the depression subsided with discontinuation of therapy and recurred with reinstitution of therapy.

Reproductive System

abnormal menses

Respiratory

bronchospasms (with or without a history of asthma), respiratory infection, voice alteration

Skin and Appendages

acne fulminans, alopecia (which in some cases persists), bruising, cheilitis (dry lips), dry mouth, dry nose, dry skin, epistaxis, eruptive xanthomas,7 erythema multiforme, flushing, fragility of skin, hair abnormalities, hirsutism, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation, infections (including disseminated herpes simplex), nail dystrophy, paronychia, peeling of palms and soles, photoallergic/photosensitizing reactions, pruritus, pyogenic granuloma, rash (including facial erythema, seborrhea, and eczema), Stevens-Johnson syndrome, sunburn susceptibility increased, sweating, toxic epidermal necrolysis, urticaria, vasculitis (including Wegener's granulomatosis; see PRECAUTIONS: Hypersensitivity), abnormal wound healing (delayed healing or exuberant granulation tissue with crusting; see PATIENT INFORMATION)

Special Senses

Hearing - hearing impairment (see WARNINGS: Hearing Impairment), tinnitus.

Vision- corneal opacities (see WARNINGS: Corneal Opacities), decreased night vision which may persist (see WARNINGS: Decreased Night Vision), cataracts, color vision disorder, conjunctivitis, dry eyes, eyelid inflammation, keratitis, optic neuritis, photophobia, visual disturbances

Urinary System

glomerulonephritis (see PRECAUTIONS: Hypersensitivity), nonspecific urogenital findings (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests for other urological parameters)

Laboratory

Elevation of plasma triglycerides (see WARNINGS: Lipids), decrease in serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, elevations of serum cholesterol during treatment

Increased alkaline phosphatase, SGOT (AST), SGPT (ALT), GGTP or LDH (see WARNINGS: Hepatotoxicity)

Elevation of fasting blood sugar, elevations of CPK (see PRECAUTIONS: Laboratory Tests), hyperuricemia

Decreases in red blood cell parameters, decreases in white blood cell counts (including severe neutropenia and rare reports of agranulocytosis; see PATIENT INFORMATION), elevated sedimentation rates, elevated platelet counts, thrombocytopenia

White cells in the urine, proteinuria, microscopic or gross hematuria

Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Accutane (Isotretinoin)

Related Resources for Accutane

Read the Accutane User Reviews »

© Accutane Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Accutane Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.

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