What should I know about isotretinoin before taking it?

Isotretinoin can cause dangerous and possibly life-threatening birth defects when taken by women who are pregnant or become pregnant. It is extremely important that you use effective birth control while taking isotretinoin, and your doctor will have you join a program called iPLEDGE, facilitating pregnancy prevention while you use this medication because of the great risk of birth defects. You should not take vitamin A supplements while using isotretinoin, and you should avoid giving blood during treatment and for 30 days after discontinuation. Follow all instructions from your doctor accompanying isotretinoin and never give it to anyone else, even if their symptoms are similar to yours. This medication will increase your susceptibility to sunburns and skin irritation of all sorts, so take precautions to avoid overexposure to sunlight or UV rays, and avoid wax or laser hair removal treatments. You should know that this medication, although it may treat acne, may cause severe acne flare-ups and skin irritation when you begin to use it. It is important for you to continue taking this medication exactly as your doctor instructs, with a full glass of water every dose, for as long as prescribed.  Before taking this medication, tell your doctor about any and all health conditions you have, as some may interact dangerously with isotretinoin. In particular, tell your doctor if you have a history of eating disorders, depression or mental disorders, heart disease or high cholesterol, diabetes, liver disease, asthma, osteoporosis or any other bone diseases, vision or hearing problems, pancreatitis or any intestinal disorders, kidney disease, severe weight problems or an excess of vitamin A. You should tell your doctor about any medications that you are taking or that you have taken recently. In particular, tell your doctor about any steroids, seizure medications or tetracyclines that you are taking or have taken recently.  

Continue Learning about Antiacne

How does sulfur help treat acne?
Sulfur is often overlooked in skin care, but is starting to appear in more products, and helps treat...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.