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Isotretinoin - Indications, Dosage, Side Effects and Precautions

Written & Compiled by Anushta Chandrapalan, M.Sc  | Medically Reviewed by The Medindia Medical Review Team
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General Information on Isotretinoin

Generic Name : Isotretinoin
Pronunciation : eye soe tret' I noyn
Latest prescription information about Isotretinoin. Learn how to pronounce the drug's name, its indications, dosage, how to take, when to take, when not to take, side effects, special precautions, warnings and its storage instructions . Also listed are the International and Indian trade name(s) of the drug and its price list.
ICD Code : Y56.9 | Therapeutic Classification : Miscellaneous Dermatologicals

Why is Isotretinoin Prescribed? (Indications)

This medication is a retinoid, prescribed for acne and other skin disorders. It reduces skin oil production, changing the characteristics of the skin oil, and preventing abnormal hardening of the skin.


When should Isotretinoin not be taken? (Contraindications)

Contraindicated in pregnant women and in patients with hypersensitivity.

What is the dosage of Isotretinoin?

Adult- PO- The recommended dose range is 0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg/day given in two divided doses with food for 15 to 20 weeks.

How should Isotretinoin be taken?

It comes as a capsule to take by mouth, with food.

What are the warnings and precautions for Isotretinoin?

• Caution should be exercised in patients with history of sugar, high blood cholesterol, mental disorder, suicidal thoughts, liver disease, osteoporosis, eating disorders, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, hearing problems, ringing in the ears, stomach pain, any allergy, who are taking other medications, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

• It may cause drowsiness, vision changes or dizziness, do not drive a car or operate machinery while taking this medication.

• Avoid alcohol consumption.

• Avoid exposure to sunlight; otherwise it may cause sunburn easily.

• Monitor pregnancy tests, cholesterol, liver function, blood sugar levels and white blood cell counts regularly while taking this medication.

What are the side effects of Isotretinoin?

•   Body as a Whole : Allergic reactions.
•   Heart : Palpitations, fast heart rate and stroke.
•   Metabolic : Increased blood cholesterol level.
•   Gastrointestinal : Inflammatory bowel disease, bleeding, inflammation of the gums, peptic ulcer and nausea.
•   Musculoskeletal : Bone weakness, calcification of tendons and ligaments, premature epiphyseal closure, decrease in bone mineral density including muscle/joint pain.
•   Central Nervous System : Dizziness, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, lethargy, uneasiness, nervousness, tingling, seizures, stroke, fainting, weakness, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, depression, psychosis, aggression and violent behaviors.
•   Genitourinary : Abnormal menses.
•   Respiratory : Asthma.

What are the other precautions for Isotretinoin?

It may cause the bones to weaken or thicken abnormally and may increase the risk of certain bone injuries in people who perform some types of physical activity. Consult with your doctor before performing such activities.

What are the storage conditions for Isotretinoin?

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children. Store it away from light.

Last Updated : Jun 2018

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Asmita Basu, India

I am taking Acutret 40 mg per day as prescribed by my doctor.And my acne has increased so severely that I am literally depressed and not willing to go out.Very large pimples are coming out.Is this normal? And when can I expect to get rid of this totally?Will it help me control my acne permanently? Last year also for nearly six months I took Isotret.Then it was okay but has reoccurred this year again.

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