A healthcare provider may prescribe Accutane® (isotretinoin) to treat severe nodular acne that has not responded to other treatments. This prescription medication is approved for use in adults and children as young as 12 years old.
An oral medication, Accutane comes in the form of capsules. It is important to take your dosage with food, as taking it on an empty stomach significantly decreases its absorption. Accutane capsules are available in three strengths:
- Accutane 10 mg
- Accutane 20 mg
- Accutane 40 mg.
For many people, a single 15- to 20-week course of the medication will be sufficient. However, if acne is still a problem eight weeks after stopping Accutane, a second course may be recommended. There are strict rules for taking this drug. Women of childbearing potential must use two effective forms of birth control and must have frequent pregnancy tests in order to prevent the use of this medication during pregnancy.
Although most people tolerate this medication well, it is not suitable for everyone. Possible side effects include depression, dry eyes, and hearing problems.
(Click Accutane for more information on how Accutane can help treat severe acne when other acne treatments have failed. This article also discusses general dosing guidelines, safety precautions, and tips on effectively using this medication.)