Isotretinoin for Acne
Retinoid medicines may have side effects, such as:
- Miscarriage and serious birth defects. The most dangerous side effects of retinoid medicine are miscarriage and serious birth defects in babies whose mothers took the medicines during pregnancy. Women who can get pregnant need to use two forms of birth control so that they do not become pregnant while they are taking retinoid medicine. The risk of birth defects and miscarriage goes away about 1 month after the medicine is stopped.
- Changes in mood or thoughts. The Center for Drug Evaluation and Research division of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that isotretinoin may be linked with depression, psychosis, and, in rare cases, thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and suicide. The link between isotretinoin and these mood changes is not clear and is being watched very closely. Talk to your doctor for more information on whether isotretinoin is right for you or your child. If you or your child is taking isotretinoin and has signs of Reference depression Opens New Window, see your doctor for treatment. Even if you stop taking isotretinoin, depression may not improve.
- Increase in triglycerides in the blood. A person who takes retinoid medicine may have higher-than-normal levels of certain fats (triglycerides) in his or her blood. High levels of triglycerides may make a person more likely to develop certain health problems, such as heart disease. For this reason, all people need to have their blood checked for triglyceride levels before starting this medicine and every 4 to 6 weeks while taking it.
- Liver damage. Some people who have certain liver conditions may develop liver damage if they take retinoid medicine. For this reason, all people need to have blood tests to check their liver function before starting this medicine and at regular checkups while they are taking it.
- Other side effects. Other common side effects of retinoid medicines can include chapped lips, dry skin, dry eyes, and dryness inside the nose and mouth. People also complain of fatigue, sensitivity to the sun, problems with night vision, and thinning of hair.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: February 3, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology