West Houston Dermatology

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New Research on Isotretinoin (Accutane) and Acne

Accutane Treatment for Acne

A study performed in New Zealand’s Waikoto Hospital focused on the use of isotretinoin (better known as Accutane) to treat acne.  The study was first published in the Australian Journal of Dermatology with an abridged version in the August 2010 edition of Dermatology World.  Results indicate that when used in low doses Accutane does not cause serious adverse reactions, despite allegations by personal injury attorneys who claim that Accutane causes anything from Chron’s disease to suicidal ideations.  The New Zealand study was a retrospective chart review over a six-year period of time, and the sample size was 1,653 patients.  Of the adverse effects reported by patients, the most common problem was cheilitis (inflammation of the lips) in 78% of patients, eczema in 12% of patients, and tiredness in 12% of patients.  Also, all adverse reactions were dose dependent, meaning the higher the dosage, the more chance for adverse reactions to treatment.  In patients who were prescribed and who took 0.75 mg/kg/day, only 1.4% had to discontinue treatment.  During the course of this six-year retrospective study, there were no reports of any patients having suicidal ideations or making any such attempt.  Dermatologists and medical scientists have known since the inception of this drug for acne treatment that Accutane is teratogenic – meaning that it can cause severe birth defects if taken by a pregnant woman or a woman who becomes pregnant during treatment.  But, this is why dermatologists carefully screen patient before initiating treatment.  Accutane has been a godsend for patients with severe nodular acne or other forms of acne that do not respond to topic treatments, injections or other oral medications.  Many patients who had lost hope of clearing their skin have had life-changing experiences after Accutane treatment.  West Houston Dermatology and Dr. Stephen Mahoney are advocates of Accutane and careful monitoring when other more conservative treatments fail.  Dr. Mahoney is a specialist in treating all forms of acne in teens and adults.  He is a dermatologist who will take the time necessary to education his patients, and when working with teens, the teens and the parents.  For more information on treating acne and options that are custom tailored to the individual patient, contact West Houston Dermatology to schedule an appointment.