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Acnotin® (Isotretinoin) is a vitamin A derivative known as a retinoid that is used to treat severe acne that has not responded to other acne medications.
The original brand, Accutane, is no longer on the market. However, the drug is sometimes still referred to by this name. Some other common brands include Roaccutane and Oratane.
Isotretinoin targets the underlying causes of acne. Isotretinoin helps treat acne by shrinking the oil glands (sebaceous glands), preventing clogged pores and reducing oil (sebum) production. Isotretinoin is also excellent at killing bacteria in the pores that contribute to the formation of new acne and possesses anti-inflammatory effects.
This medication may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Treatment with Isotretinoin has a high average success rate of around 85% for patients who complete the treatment course (usually 4-6 months). For patients with severe or cystic acne, a 6-month course of Isotretinoin offers the best treatment to alleviate the symptoms of severe acne. After initiating Isotretinoin, you should see an improvement in your acne within 1-2 months.
A small percentage of patients may choose to take a second course of Isotretinoin if they still have significant acne after completing their first course. This can be initiated after taking a 2 month break.
Isotretinoin is available in the form of capsules. Take this medication as directed by your doctor. Swallow the capsules whole with a glass of water. Do not chew or crush the capsule. Take this medication with or after food to improve absorption.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose. Then take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose.
In some people, the acne may seem to get worse during the first few weeks before improving.
Certain side effects of this medication may happen and may even disappear during treatment. If any of the following effects persist or are severe, consult your doctor. These side effects include:
The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:
The following uncommon side effects may occasionally occur. Consult your doctor if any of them becomes severe:
Your doctor will also perform blood tests (cholesterol/triglycerides and liver function test) before you start the treatment and at least once during the course of treatment. This is to monitor for any abnormalities as isotretinoin can cause the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood to increase and may cause raised liver enzymes.
Inform your healthcare professional if:
For female patients:
The above information answers some common questions about this medicine. It does not contain all the available information. It also does not take the place of talking to your doctor or pharmacist.