Accutane® (isotretinoin) is a prescription medication approved to treat severe nodular acne that has not responded to other treatments.
The drug comes in capsule form. Accutane is taken by mouth, usually twice a day with food (as taking it on an empty stomach significantly decreases its absorption). The medicine is available in the following strengths:
- Accutane 10 mg
- Accutane 20 mg
- Accutane 40 mg.
Accutane is typically taken for 15 to 20 weeks. Your acne will continue to improve after you stop taking the medication. A second course may be recommended if your acne is still a problem eight weeks after finishing the first course.
You can only get a 30-day supply of Accutane at a time. Each time you need more, you will need a new prescription and a new authorization from the iPLEDGE program (the program designed to prevent birth defects caused by Accutane). If you are a woman of childbearing potential, you will need to have a negative pregnancy test every month (done by a laboratory) and must use two different forms of birth control.
(Click Accutane Dosage for a more in-depth look at how Accutane works, general dosing guidelines, and tips on how to safely and effectively use this acne medication.)