Isotretinoin - Side Effects and more

This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.

Isotretinoin is a form of vitamin A, which helps your skin to regenerate. Therefore it is used to treat nodular acne. It acts primarily by reducing sebaceous gland secretion, but some studies have shown that other factors contributes to acne formation. Isotretionin is a very effective medication in treating severe acne (success rate of 80 %). Isotretinoin effects will last longer than an antibacterial treatment and usually permanently remove acne. Treatment requires strict medical supervision because of well-known side-effects.

It is used in the treatment of cystic acne.


This substance acts as teratogens, which means that it causes birth defects, therefore it should be avoided during pregnancy. While taking Isotretinoin do not take vitamin A supplements and do not donate blood without checking with your doctor first. This medicine should be used only under a doctor's supervision.

Side effects

  • Depression, insomnia, mood swings, hallucinations, behavior change and suicidal thoughts
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Seizures (convulsions)
  • Hearing problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea, rectal bleeding, blood in the stools, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Bone pain

Call your doctor If you are experiencing these side effects.

Use with other medicines (Interactions)

Isotretinoin should be avoided in combination with following medicines:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Phenytoin
  • Antibiotics such as: doxycycline

Brand names: Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret, Accutane, Myorisan, Absorica, Zenatane etc.

Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.

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