If you want to control acne, one drug treatment you may have considered is Accutane (1). Accutane treatment has been available in the USA since the 1980s, having originally been developed as a cancer chemotherapy drug. The effectiveness and dosage levels of Accutane for successful treatment have long been a cause of controversy, as have the side effects, which can include acne (believe it or not), dry skin and chapped lips, back and joint pain, sore and reddened skin, nosebleeds, mental depression and most seriously of all, birth defects. Damage to the fetus can cause physical malformation, teratoma and mental retardation.
As with any course of drug treatment, Accutane treatment should only be taken following competent medical advice, and only after all other avenues have been exhausted. This drug, whilst it can be highly effective can also cause you problems; it is not a drug to be taken lightly, or before you have tried other forms of acne treatment.
If you are pregnant, suspect you are pregnant, or wish to become pregnant, you should seek qualified medical advice as soon as possible. Seek advice from your family physician immediately, as there is a link between Accutane treatment and the possibility of birth defects.
Accutane is derived from chemicals that are related to retinol, a precursor of Vitamin A, and this vitamin is one of the very few that can cause undesired side effects, including health risks when taken in great quanitity. While taking the drug, you should avoid taking additional doses of Vitamin A, and avoid food sources that are known to be high in Vitamin A.
Further to this, a general note to bear in mind is that Accutane treatment can also cause your acne to get worse temporarily. Although overall the treatment may be successful, it is not a “quick fix” – your skin condition may worsen in the first place, and only reduce after a period of treatment. This period may vary from one person to another, so be certain to get good advice, preferably from a qualified dermatologist.
In conclusion, before starting a course of accutane treatment, consult with your family doctor or dermatologist, and be sure to make them aware of any existing medical conditions, and particularly if you even suspect you are, or may in the future become pregnant, be safe and protect yourself first.