Accutane (generic name: isotretinoin) is a very strong vitamin A based prescription medication used by dermatologists to clear up their patient’s acne.
Generally, it is only prescribed to a patient after all other over-the-counter and prescription meds and topical treatments have failed. It works by cutting down the amount of oil your glands produce and increasing skin’s cell turnover rate.
While some acne sufferers say it is the only thing that helps clear up their skin, many others have reported that the side effects can be extremely severe. One case in particular, covered by ITV Central, was so bad that it left a teenage girl hospitalized for depression.
Emma Fox battled with acne and was prescribed RoAccutane, a brand name of the isotretinoin drug. Nine months in, Emma collapsed at school, was sent to the hospital, and spent another nine months in bed with a feeding tube, with little recollection of it all. Four years later, she is better and able to tell her story and why she feels the drug should be banned.
Fox says it only took a few weeks before her mood became different, saying “I was feeling very low, I was getting very teary and upset and just a bit confused because I didn’t really understand why I felt like that.”
She does remember “I just wanted to stay in bed I was just so lifeless, I can’t describe how low I felt that I just couldn’t see the point in anything and it’s very hard to explain.”
Emma was sent to another hospital for treatment. Becoming more suicidal on antidepressants, doctors had to dig a bit deeper. They found that the mood-regulating part of her brain where serotonin is produced was damaged beyond repair by the acne medication. Knowing what the problem was she could now begin to recover.
Fortunately, Emma is back on track and succeeding in college now. However, after all of the trauma she suffered simply trying to cure her acne, Emma and her mother Caroline want people to know what happened, so it doesn’t happen to them, also. Caroline Fox says, “I would like to see it banned because I don’t believe that the likes of Emma are worth those that do get the benefits of RoAccutane.”
Roche, the makers of RoAccutane, don’t dispute the possibility of cases like Emma’s either. The company made a statement saying “RoAccutane has transformed the lives of many acne sufferers, but like most medications it can have side effects. Whilst no definitive cause and effect relationship has been established, to directly link mood swings and depression with the drug there have been rare reports amongst both those taking RoAccutane and acne sufferers in general. As a precaution, we recommend that anybody experiencing these, or other possible side effects with the treatment, to tell their doctor immediately.”
There are many alternatives to clear up acne to a drug that can impact you so severely. Think twice before taking a prescription from your dermatologist.
If you are suffering from acne and still could not find a solution to clear up your skin, Envision Acne and Skin Care Center has a proven Acne Free Skin Program that will clear up your skin in 90 days.
Do you need expert skin care advice from a licensed esthetician/acne specialist? Schedule your appointment for a consultation to get the personalized advice on products and treatments that are right for you.
You can also learn more about whether a dermatologist or aesthetician is better suited for your acne.
© 2013 Nikolett Ivanyi, Envision Acne Center; For more information go to www.envisionacnecenter.com