The Downside of Accutane

Clearing acne, but at what cost?

What is Accutane?

Accutane is the brand name for a drug called isotretinoin, which is a vitamin A derivative that can treat severe acne.

The Controversy

Since its approval in 1982, there has been  controversy surrounding Accutane and its possible side effect of depression. In 2002 a family filed a lawsuit saying that their son became suicidal from the drug. Even though the case was dismissed, this triggered studies and research into whether or not the drug could alter brain chemistry and cause depression.

While depression and suicide/suicidal ideation remain to be the most common complain as a side effect of this drug, other complaints involving mental health have been discovered. From 1997-2017, reports were being given to the FDA about any adverse effects with the medication. Overwhelmingly a common case was depression, suicide and suicidal ideation. They also found complaints of insomnia, anxiety disorders, emotional lability and self-harm. These results do not necessarily prove that these are side effects of the drug, or even that Accutane users experience these conditions more so than everyone because the study was not designed to give that information. However, these results should not be ignored.

Common 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,


We at Skin Therapy of Charlotte believe everyone should have the luxury of clear skin, but without the cost of side effects that Accutane may give you. Therefore we have developed an acne treatment program that has a 89% success rate in achieving clear skin without accutane, antibiotics or harsh prescriptions that irritate already inflamed skin. Call us at 980-214-9676 to learn more information and book an appointment!


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