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Accutane Uses

Severe nodular acne can often be cleared up permanently with one 15- to 20-week course of Accutane. Uses of this medication only apply to people who have not responded well to other acne treatments. Because this medication can cause severe birth defects, pregnant women should not use Accutane. This prescription medication is sometimes used "off-label" as chemotherapy for certain types of cancer.

What Is Accutane Used For?

Accutane® (isotretinoin) is a prescription acne medication. It is reserved for people who have severe nodular acne that has not responded well to other treatments.
There are many types of acne. The most common types are:
  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Papules
  • Pustules
  • Nodules
  • Cysts.
Accutane is approved to treat nodular acne, one of most severe types. Nodules are large, painful, solid lesions that are lodged deep within the skin. Your dermatologist may prescribe Accutane if other acne treatments have not worked. However, because this drug can also cause birth defects, it is important that you are not pregnant and do not plan on getting pregnant while taking it. You must use two methods of birth control at the same time during treatment. This is done for one month before acne treatment begins, during acne treatment, and for a full month after stopping the drug. Talk with your dermatologist about when it's safe to get pregnant.

How Does It Work?

Accutane is a retinoid, which means that it is similar to vitamin A. It works by affecting the sebaceous glands. These glands produce sebum (an oily substance), and Accutane works by reducing the size of the sebaceous glands and decreasing sebum production. Accutane also corrects abnormal keratinization (which causes a buildup of cells within hair follicles), a problem that contributes to acne. It is not entirely clear as to why the medication causes long-lasting, anti-acne effects (one 15- to 20-week course often clears up acne permanently).

Accutane Acne Medication

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