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A few of the bothersome side effects of Accutane include water retention, fatigue, and nausea. Although these side effects are not usually dangerous and typically easy to treat, the medication can cause potentially serious complications. Notify your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any serious Accutane side effects, such as seizures, vision changes, or severe stomach pain.

An Introduction to Accutane Side Effects

Just like any medicine, Accutane® (isotretinoin) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the medication will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. However, very serious side effects are possible.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Accutane. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Accutane side effects with you.)

Possible Side Effects of Accutane

For most medications, especially relatively new medications, the prescribing information provides a detailed description of the side effects that occurred during clinical trials, along with the exact percentage of people who developed the side effects. However, the prescribing information for Accutane does not provide any percentages, and it is difficult to know which side effects are common and which are rare.
Based on this limited information, some of the bothersome (but not usually dangerous) side effects that can occur with Accutane include:
  • Water retention
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding gums
  • Nausea
  • Irritation of the esophagus
  • Back pain, muscle pain, or joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Menstrual changes
  • Voice changes
  • Hair loss
  • Undesired hair growth (such as body or facial hair growth)
  • Dry lips, mouth, nose, and skin
  • Nosebleeds
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Peeling of the hands or feet
  • Lightening or darkening of the skin
  • Poor night vision
  • Changes in color vision.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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