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Generic Name: isotretinoin (oral) (eye so TRET i noyn)
What is isotretinoin?
Isotretinoin is a form of vitamin A. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly.
Isotretinoin is used to treat severe nodular acne. It is usually given after other acne medicines or antibiotics have been tried without successful treatment of symptoms.
Isotretinoin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about isotretinoin?Isotretinoin can cause severe, life-threatening birth defects if the mother takes the medication during pregnancy. Even one dose of isotretinoin can cause major birth defects of the baby"s ears, eyes, face, skull, heart, and brain. Never use isotretinoin if you are pregnant.
Women of child-bearing potential must agree in writing to use two specific forms of birth control and have regular pregnancy tests before, during, and after taking isotretinoin. Unless you have had a total hysterectomy or have been in menopause for at least a year, you are considered to be of child-bearing potential.
Isotretinoin is available only under a special program called iPLEDGE. You must be registered in the program and sign agreements to use birth control and undergo pregnancy testing as required by the program. Read all program brochures and agreements carefully.
It is dangerous to try and purchase isotretinoin on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. The sale and distribution of isotretinoin outside of the iPLEDGE program violates the regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the safe use of this medication.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking isotretinoin?
Isotretinoin is available only under a special program called iPLEDGE. You must be registered in the program and sign documents stating that you understand the dangers of this medication and that you agree to use birth control as required by the program. Read all of the iPLEDGE program brochures and agreements carefully. Ask your doctor or call the drug maker if you have questions about the program or the written requirements.
It is dangerous to try and purchase isotretinoin on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. The sale and distribution of isotretinoin outside of the iPLEDGE program violates the regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the safe use of this medication.Do not use this medication if you are allergic to isotretinoin or to parabens, or if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.
Before taking isotretinoin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any foods or drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use isotretinoin, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.Isotretinoin can cause severe, life-threatening birth defects if the mother takes the medication during pregnancy. Even one dose of isotretinoin can cause major birth defects of the baby"s ears, eyes, face, skull, heart, and brain. Never use isotretinoin if you are pregnant.
For Women: Unless you have had your uterus and ovaries removed (total hysterectomy) or have been in menopause for at least 12 months in a row, you are considered to be of child-bearing potential.
Even women who have had their tubes tied are required to use birth control while taking isotretinoin.
You must have a negative pregnancy test 30 days before you start taking isotretinoin. A pregnancy test is also required before each prescription is refilled, right after you take your last dose of isotretinoin, and again 30 days later. All pregnancy testing is required by the iPLEDGE program.
You must agree in writing to use two specific forms of birth control beginning 30 days before you start taking isotretinoin and ending 30 days after you stop taking it. Both a primary and a secondary form of birth control must be used together.
Primary forms of birth control include:
Secondary forms of birth control include:
Stop using isotretinoin and call your doctor at once if you have unprotected sex, if you quit using birth control, if your period is late, or if you think you might be pregnant.It is not known whether isotretinoin passes into breast milk. Do not take isotretinoin without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take isotretinoin?
Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Each prescription of isotretinoin must be filled within 7 days of the date it was prescribed by your doctor. You will receive no more than a 30-day supply of isotretinoin at one time.Always take isotretinoin with a full glass of water to prevent the capsule from melting in your esophagus (food pipe), causing irritation. Do not chew or suck on the capsule. Swallow it as quickly as possible. Take isotretinoin with food or milk. Take this medication for the entire length of time prescribed by your doctor. Your acne may seem to get worse at first, but should then begin to improve.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. Your liver function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.Never share this medicine with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have. Store isotretinoin at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Symptoms of an isotretinoin overdose include headache, dizziness, vomiting, stomach pain, warmth or tingling under the skin, swelling of the lips, and loss of balance or coordination.
What should I avoid while taking isotretinoin?Do not take vitamin supplements containing vitamin A while you are taking isotretinoin.
Isotretinoin can weaken bones. Avoid sports or activities that may result in injury or bone fracture.Do not donate blood while taking isotretinoin and for at least 30 days after you stop taking it. Donated blood that is later given to pregnant woman could lead to birth defects in her baby if the blood contains any level of isotretinoin.
Do not use wax hair removers or have dermabrasion or laser skin treatments while you are taking isotretinoin and for at least 6 months after you stop taking it. Scarring may result.Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Isotretinoin can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Isotretinoin can cause side effects that may impair your vision, especially at night. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to see clearly.
Isotretinoin side effectsGet emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using isotretinoin and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
Continue taking isotretinoin and talk to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects:
Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.
What other drugs will affect isotretinoin?
Before taking isotretinoin, tell your doctor if you are also taking:
If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to use isotretinoin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.
There may be other drugs not listed that can affect isotretinoin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
What does my medication look like?
Isotretinoin is available with a prescription under the brand name Accutane. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.
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