What is this medication for?

This medication is a retinoid (a type of vitamin A). Isotretinoin is used to treat severe types of acne where other medications (including antibiotics) with fewer potential side effects have failed to help. It works by reducing sebum (skin oil) production.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Accutane® is no longer being manufactured for sale in the USA.

Some medications may have other generic brands available. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safety of switching between brands of the same medication.

How should I use this medication?

You must take isotretinoin exactly as prescribed. You must follow all the instructions of the iPLEDGE program and sign the Patient Information/Informed Consent form.

The recommended adult dose is based on body weight and response to the medication. The usual daily dose is 0.5 mg to 1 mg per kilogram of body weight taken in 2 divided doses with meals. Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of liquid. Do not chew or suck on the capsule.

This medication should be taken for 15 to 20 weeks. There may be temporary worsening of acne before it gets better. People with severe acne may require a total daily dose of up to 2 mg per kilogram of body weight daily. Most people with severe acne notice an improvement after 1 or 2 courses of treatment.

You must return to your doctor as directed to make sure you don't have signs of serious side effects. Your doctor may do blood tests to check for serious side effects from isotretinoin. Female patients who can get pregnant will get a pregnancy test each month.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you:

  • are allergic to isotretinoin or any ingredients of the medication
  • are pregnant or intending to get pregnant
  • are breast-feeding

Pregnancy: Isotretinoin must not be used during pregnancy. Women must not become pregnant while taking isotretinoin or for at least 1 month after stopping the medication. Isotretinoin may cause severe birth defects in a very high percentage of infants born to women who take this medication even for a short period of time during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking isotretinoin, stop taking this medication and contact your doctor immediately.

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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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