Acne treatment with isotretinoin is reviewed by leading dermatologist Jeffrey C. Poole, M.D.
Isotretinoin is the active ingredient of several oral acne medication brands, including Accutane (now withdrawn from the market), Amnesteem, and Sotret. Although there have been concerns raised about a range of possible side effects, isotretinoin continues to be prescribed for acne because of its unique benefits.
“Isotretinoin is by far our most effective therapy for acne, and has the potential to cure someone’s acne” said Dr. Poole. “It is a very safe medicine when properly prescribed, and virtually every patient I have treated with isotretinoin is thrilled with the results and lack of significant side effects.”
Generally, isotretinoin has been thought of as a “last resort” treatment or for severe-nodular cystic acne.
According to Dr. Poole he prescribes isotretinoin in a wider variety of cases:
- for the persistent or resistant acne that is not responding well to standard treatments
- for the patient that is beginning to develop or at risk of developing acne scars
- for the patient with moderate but extensive acne at a young age with a family history of severe or scarring acne
- and often for the adult patient who has persistent moderate acne and is tired of all the creams and pills and wants a “cure”.
“These are some of the most common reasons I use for starting isotretinoin, but I address each person individually regarding their acne and situation, and often present isotretinoin as one, excellent option”, added Dr. Poole.
NOTE: In order to minimize possible side effects from the use of isotretinoin, the FDA and pharmaceutical manufacturers established the iPledge program that requires that patients complete questionnaires or certain tests (such as a pregnancy test) prior to filling or refilling their prescription.