Dos and Don’ts of Accutane:
- You must not get pregnant while on Accutane
- You must do your baseline and repeat bloodwork
- You must avoid sun exposure
- You must avoid alcohol
- You must report headaches
- You must report depression or other side effects
- You must keep regular follow-up appointments
- You must not use wax hair removal treatments
- You must avoid laser eye surgery, LASIK eye surgery, and other cosmetic surgery while on Accutane
- You must moisturize the skin faithfully
Accutane is a synthetic Vitamin A hormone.
It is the most effective anti-acne drug available, providing a substantial improvement in acne lesions in 80-90% of patients treated. It unplugs blocked oil ducts and provides permanent treatment for approximately 40% of those treated.
COST: Accutane come in packs of 10mg or 40mg capsules; 30 caps/blister pack. 1 pack costs about $110.
DOSE: Optimum dose is a total of 120mg/kg of body weight (i.e. A person weighing 60kg would need a total of 180 capsules or 6 packs of 40mg caps in total). Course of treatment is usually 4-6 months but both the total dosage and length of treatment varies according to the severity of the condition, side effects and individual needs.
ACCUTANE TAKEN DURING PREGNANCY WILL CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS OF THE DEVELOPING FETUS. Women who are sexually active must use two forms of birth control before starting and while on Accutane. It is safe to become pregnant 3 months after the course of Accutane has been completed.
Accutane does not cause depression, but may unmask it in patients who may be predisposed to depression. Patients with a history of depression should report this, as Accutane may intensify the depression. The Accutane dosage can be carefully monitored and adjusted for these patients. If patients of their family members notice significant mood or behaviour changes, please contact our office.
Accutane can cause elevation of the liver enzymes and fats in the blood. Patients on Accutane should abstain from alcohol use while on Accutane and should adhere to a low fat diet. Patients with underlying liver disease should not take Accutane.
BLOODWORK: Baseline fasting blood tests must be done prior to starting Accutane to ensure you have no underlying abnormalities in liver enzymes or fats in the blood such as cholesterol and triglycerides. Blood work is then repeasted in a monthly basis to monitorany significant changes. You will be notified if there are any abnormalities in the blood tests at your daily visits. As blood samples must be taken after a 1–12 hour fast, we suggest that you drink only water after bedtime/midnight and have bloodwork done first thing in the morning before eating breakfast.
PRESCRIPTIONS WILL NOT BE RENEWED IF BLOOD WORK IS NOT DONE AS REQUESTED.
PRESCRIPTIONS WILL NOT BE RENEWED BY PHONE.
FOLLOW-UP VISITS: ARE VERY IMPORTANT. Please book your initial 4 week follow-up visit as soon as possible so that your course of treatment will not be interrupted. If you cannot keep your appointment due to an Emergency or other urgent matter, please contact our office.
SIDE EFFECTS: Accutane causes dryness of the skin, eyes, lips, and sometimes joint linings. You will need to wear a good moisturizer, such as Cetaphil Restoraderm, CeraVe, or Effaclar H for the face and CeraVe cream, Cetaphil Restoraderm, or Glaxal base for the body.
- Please avoid all over-the-counter or prescription topical acne products while on Accutane as this will cause significant irritation.
- Vaseline or Rhinaris gel may be used inside the nostrils to prevent nosebleeds secondary to dryness.
- A good lip balm must be worn at all times; Carmex or Blistex lip balm; Ceralip, Avene cold cream lip balm, or Vaseline.
- Eyes may become red, dry, and irritated while on Accutane, and patients may need to use liquid tears or other lubrication. Please consult your eye doctor if the problem persists in spite of lubricants.
- Contact lens wearers may need to use eye drops or wear glasses while on Accutane. Please consult your ophthalmologist as to which drops are best for your type of lens.
- Night vision may be decreased while on Accutane. Please use extra caution when driving at night.
- Do not use waxing for hair removal while on Accutane as this may peel the skin.
- Sunscreens and other sun protection must be used, as the skin will burn very easily while on Accutane.
- Please do not take Vitamin A, tetracycline, or minocycline tablets while on Accutane as this can cause severe headaches.
- Headaches may be a side effect of Accutane. You may take Tylenol if they occur but please notify us of a headache that persists longer than a day.
- Fatigue, aching joints, backaches, and abdominal pain may also be noted. These are often transient but please notify us if you are concerned.
- A small percentage of patients may experience some hair thinning while on Accutane but this reverses when treatment is stopped.
SIDE EFFECTS CAN BE MONITORED AND CONTROLLED BY ADJUSTING THE DOSAGE OF ACCUTANE TO MEET YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS. Please contact Dr. Poelman if you have any concerns.