Accutane for Acne: An Analysis

2098 words (8 pages) Essay

21st Mar 2018 Health Reference this

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Before the iron curtain fell any Information about acne was rare. But with growing advances in dermatology and medicine now understanding the cause of acne and its accurate treatment is available worldwide. Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world. Although it’s common but accurate information about acne can be scare. This makes it difficult to get clearer skin. Therefore the information in this document can help you understand acne and how to treat/ prevent it successfully.

[1]Overview of acne:

Acne, or acne vulgaris, is askinproblem that starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. Some people call it blackheads, blemishes, whiteheads, pimples, or zits. When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne. Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest, and back. Or it can be bigger, solid, red lumps that are painful (cysts).

Acne is very common amongteens. It usually gets better after the teen years. Some women who never had acne growing up will have it as an adult, often right before their menstrual periods.

How you feel about your acne may not be related to how bad it is. Some people who have severe acne are not bothered by it. Others are embarrassed or upset even though they have only a few pimples.

Acne starts whenoil and dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores. If germs get into the pores, the result can be swelling, redness, and pus.

Causes of Acne

Acne can be caused or exacerbated by a number of different things, including:

  • Changes in hormone levels (such as during puberty or menstruation)
  • Cosmetics or hair or skin products
  • Having a family history of acne
  • Some medications
  • Something rubbing on the skin (like a hat or helmet)
  • Vigorous scrubbing of the skin
  • Stress

For most people, acne starts during the teen years. This is because hormone changes make the skin oilier afterpubertystarts. Using oil-based skin products or cosmetics can make acne worse. Use skin products that don’t clog your pores. They will say “noncomedogenic” on the label.

Acne can run in families. If one of your parents had severe acne, you are more likely to have it.

Symptoms of acne :

Acne commonly appears on the face and shoulders. It may also occur on the trunk, arms, legs, and buttocks.

Other symptoms include:

  • Crusting of skin bumps
  • Cysts
  • Papules (small red bumps)
  • Pustules
  • Redness around the skin eruptions
  • Scarring of the skin
  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads

The good news is that there are many good treatments that can help you get acne under control.

What is Accutane[2]

[3]Accutane’s chemical composition resembles that of retinoic acid, a compound derived from Vitamin A. The primary application for Accutane is for nodular acne in patients that do not respond to topical applications (such as benzoyl peroxide) and standard antibiotic treatments.it is administered orally in pill form. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly.

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People with severe cases of nodular acne can display red, tender and swollen bumps under the skin. These bumps can have a diameter of a quarter-inch or larger. Left untreated, these bumps can lead to permanent facial scarring and disfigurement. Accutane treats these bumps by slowing the rate of chemical production that leads to skin breakouts. It was originally recommended for people with severe acne that did not respond to other treatments,but has gained in popularity in the past 25 years and is prescribed more and more frequently for less severe acne

How Accutane works

Exactly how Accutane works on a cellular level is unknown but we do know that it affects all four ways that acne develops.

1. It dramatically reduces the size of the skin’soil glands(35%-58%) and even more dramatically reduces the amount of oil these glands produce (around 80%).

2. Acnebacteria(P. acnes) live in skin oil. Since oil is dramatically reduced, so is the amount of acne bacteria in the skin.

3. It slows down how fast the skin producesskin cellsinside the pore, which helps pores from becoming clogged in the first place.

4. It hasanti-inflammatoryproperties.

Researchers have published several studies attempting to gauge whether people with mild to moderate acne can achieve long term remission of acne with lower dosages of Accutane. Initial data is showing that people with mild to moderate acne may be able to achieve long term remission with significantly lower dosages, and thus suffer fewer side effects, including lower incidence of scarring. Relapse rates with lower dosages do not seem to increase, leading some researchers to posit that it is not cumulative dose that brings about permanent clearing as much as it is the length of time that the oil glands are suppressed. Intermittent dosing (taking Accutane only 1 week of every month) appears to work less well, producing significantly poorer outcomes for more than half of the patients studied.

Why is Accutane better

  • Only solution for severe acne
  • Effective than antibiotics
  • Quick results as compared to other remedies
  • Easier to consume and continue , just an oral pill
  • Long term results
  • Lesser scares left after complete course

Dosage:[4]

Accutane should not be consumed unless prescribed by your physician, and its dosage should be as prescribed by the physician.

Please refer the table below to get a glimpse of the approximate dosage of Accutane.

Body Weight

Total mg/day

kilograms

pounds

0.5 mg/kg

1 mg/kg

2 mg/kg*

 

40

88

20

40

80

50

110

25

50

100

60

132

30

60

120

70

154

35

70

140

80

176

40

80

160

90

198

45

90

180

100

220

50

100

200

         

[5]Precautions:

  • Before starting Accutane treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).
  • Do not take vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A in high doses has many of the same side effects as accutane. Taking both together may increase your chance of getting side effects.
  • Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor’s approval while taking accutane.
  • Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category X (accutane may cause fetal harm when given to a pregnant woman. This drug must not be given to a pregnant woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If a woman becomes pregnant while taking accutane, the medication must be stopped immediately and the woman given appropriate counseling).
  • Because of the extremely high risk that a deformed infant can result if pregnancy occurs while taking accutane in any amount even for short periods of time, for both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking accutane. Two methods of effective contraception are recommended for women of childbearing potential, unless absolute abstinence is the chosen method. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
  • Do not breast feed while taking this medication

Side effects of Accutane: [6]

Doctors prescribe Accutane when other acne treatments fail. Because serious cases of acne can be such a physical and social burden, patients may be willing to tolerate some of the common side effects that come with Accutane use, including dry skin, headaches and cold-like symptoms.

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A less-common side effect of the drug is pseudotumor cerebri – benign intercranial hypertension. This is a condition in which the brain acts as though there is a tumor when there is not. It can lead to blindness. Early signs of pseudotumor cerebri include headache, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. About half of Accutane users are women of childbearing age, making birth defects associated with Accutane use a significant concern. Unfortunately,Accutaneis linked to a series of serious side effects, including bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, liver damage, depression, and miscarriage and birth defects if taken during pregnancy.

Apart from these excessive dose of Accutane can lead to hypertension, suicidal tendencies, depression , liver damage, gastrointestinal problems , hearing impairment etc, there for as a matter of fact it is higly recommended to consume Accutane under medical supervision only.


[1] American Academy of Dermatology (2007). Guidelines of care for acne vulgaris management. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 56(4): 651–663. Also available online: http://www.aad.org/education-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines/current-and-upcoming-guidelines.

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1349820/

[3] http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00982

[4] http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00982

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotretinoin

[6] http://www.drugwatch.com/accutane/side-effects.php

Before the iron curtain fell any Information about acne was rare. But with growing advances in dermatology and medicine now understanding the cause of acne and its accurate treatment is available worldwide. Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world. Although it’s common but accurate information about acne can be scare. This makes it difficult to get clearer skin. Therefore the information in this document can help you understand acne and how to treat/ prevent it successfully.

[1]Overview of acne:

Acne, or acne vulgaris, is askinproblem that starts when oil and dead skin cells clog up your pores. Some people call it blackheads, blemishes, whiteheads, pimples, or zits. When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne. Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest, and back. Or it can be bigger, solid, red lumps that are painful (cysts).

Acne is very common amongteens. It usually gets better after the teen years. Some women who never had acne growing up will have it as an adult, often right before their menstrual periods.

How you feel about your acne may not be related to how bad it is. Some people who have severe acne are not bothered by it. Others are embarrassed or upset even though they have only a few pimples.

Acne starts whenoil and dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores. If germs get into the pores, the result can be swelling, redness, and pus.

Causes of Acne

Acne can be caused or exacerbated by a number of different things, including:

  • Changes in hormone levels (such as during puberty or menstruation)
  • Cosmetics or hair or skin products
  • Having a family history of acne
  • Some medications
  • Something rubbing on the skin (like a hat or helmet)
  • Vigorous scrubbing of the skin
  • Stress

For most people, acne starts during the teen years. This is because hormone changes make the skin oilier afterpubertystarts. Using oil-based skin products or cosmetics can make acne worse. Use skin products that don’t clog your pores. They will say “noncomedogenic” on the label.

Acne can run in families. If one of your parents had severe acne, you are more likely to have it.

Symptoms of acne :

Acne commonly appears on the face and shoulders. It may also occur on the trunk, arms, legs, and buttocks.

Other symptoms include:

  • Crusting of skin bumps
  • Cysts
  • Papules (small red bumps)
  • Pustules
  • Redness around the skin eruptions
  • Scarring of the skin
  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads

The good news is that there are many good treatments that can help you get acne under control.

What is Accutane[2]

[3]Accutane’s chemical composition resembles that of retinoic acid, a compound derived from Vitamin A. The primary application for Accutane is for nodular acne in patients that do not respond to topical applications (such as benzoyl peroxide) and standard antibiotic treatments.it is administered orally in pill form. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly.

People with severe cases of nodular acne can display red, tender and swollen bumps under the skin. These bumps can have a diameter of a quarter-inch or larger. Left untreated, these bumps can lead to permanent facial scarring and disfigurement. Accutane treats these bumps by slowing the rate of chemical production that leads to skin breakouts. It was originally recommended for people with severe acne that did not respond to other treatments,but has gained in popularity in the past 25 years and is prescribed more and more frequently for less severe acne

How Accutane works

Exactly how Accutane works on a cellular level is unknown but we do know that it affects all four ways that acne develops.

1. It dramatically reduces the size of the skin’soil glands(35%-58%) and even more dramatically reduces the amount of oil these glands produce (around 80%).

2. Acnebacteria(P. acnes) live in skin oil. Since oil is dramatically reduced, so is the amount of acne bacteria in the skin.

3. It slows down how fast the skin producesskin cellsinside the pore, which helps pores from becoming clogged in the first place.

4. It hasanti-inflammatoryproperties.

Researchers have published several studies attempting to gauge whether people with mild to moderate acne can achieve long term remission of acne with lower dosages of Accutane. Initial data is showing that people with mild to moderate acne may be able to achieve long term remission with significantly lower dosages, and thus suffer fewer side effects, including lower incidence of scarring. Relapse rates with lower dosages do not seem to increase, leading some researchers to posit that it is not cumulative dose that brings about permanent clearing as much as it is the length of time that the oil glands are suppressed. Intermittent dosing (taking Accutane only 1 week of every month) appears to work less well, producing significantly poorer outcomes for more than half of the patients studied.

Why is Accutane better

  • Only solution for severe acne
  • Effective than antibiotics
  • Quick results as compared to other remedies
  • Easier to consume and continue , just an oral pill
  • Long term results
  • Lesser scares left after complete course

Dosage:[4]

Accutane should not be consumed unless prescribed by your physician, and its dosage should be as prescribed by the physician.

Please refer the table below to get a glimpse of the approximate dosage of Accutane.

Body Weight

Total mg/day

kilograms

pounds

0.5 mg/kg

1 mg/kg

2 mg/kg*

 

40

88

20

40

80

50

110

25

50

100

60

132

30

60

120

70

154

35

70

140

80

176

40

80

160

90

198

45

90

180

100

220

50

100

200

         

[5]Precautions:

  • Before starting Accutane treatment, make sure you tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking (including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamins, herbal remedies, etc.).
  • Do not take vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A in high doses has many of the same side effects as accutane. Taking both together may increase your chance of getting side effects.
  • Do not receive any kind of immunization or vaccination without your doctor’s approval while taking accutane.
  • Inform your health care professional if you are pregnant or may be pregnant prior to starting this treatment. Pregnancy category X (accutane may cause fetal harm when given to a pregnant woman. This drug must not be given to a pregnant woman or a woman who intends to become pregnant. If a woman becomes pregnant while taking accutane, the medication must be stopped immediately and the woman given appropriate counseling).
  • Because of the extremely high risk that a deformed infant can result if pregnancy occurs while taking accutane in any amount even for short periods of time, for both men and women: Do not conceive a child (get pregnant) while taking accutane. Two methods of effective contraception are recommended for women of childbearing potential, unless absolute abstinence is the chosen method. Discuss with your doctor when you may safely become pregnant or conceive a child after therapy.
  • Do not breast feed while taking this medication

Side effects of Accutane: [6]

Doctors prescribe Accutane when other acne treatments fail. Because serious cases of acne can be such a physical and social burden, patients may be willing to tolerate some of the common side effects that come with Accutane use, including dry skin, headaches and cold-like symptoms.

A less-common side effect of the drug is pseudotumor cerebri – benign intercranial hypertension. This is a condition in which the brain acts as though there is a tumor when there is not. It can lead to blindness. Early signs of pseudotumor cerebri include headache, nausea, vomiting and visual disturbances. About half of Accutane users are women of childbearing age, making birth defects associated with Accutane use a significant concern. Unfortunately,Accutaneis linked to a series of serious side effects, including bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, liver damage, depression, and miscarriage and birth defects if taken during pregnancy.

Apart from these excessive dose of Accutane can lead to hypertension, suicidal tendencies, depression , liver damage, gastrointestinal problems , hearing impairment etc, there for as a matter of fact it is higly recommended to consume Accutane under medical supervision only.


[1] American Academy of Dermatology (2007). Guidelines of care for acne vulgaris management. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 56(4): 651–663. Also available online: http://www.aad.org/education-and-quality-care/clinical-guidelines/current-and-upcoming-guidelines.

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1349820/

[3] http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00982

[4] http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00982

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotretinoin

[6] http://www.drugwatch.com/accutane/side-effects.php

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