Accutane – a new actor in the remedy theater – is a derivative of vitamin A, cis-retinoic acid. The medicine with the commercial name “Accutane” began to be sold in September 1982. The Swiss pharmaceutical company Hoffmann-La Roche manufactures its original version. According to reports, in the first two months of its sales, doctors have written sixty thousand prescriptions for it.
It is fundamentally different from other anti-acne medications. It works. However, no one, including the manufacturer and the Administration for Control of Food and Drug Administration, does not know how it works and why. In clinical trials, this drug showed 90 percent efficiency. It’s a good news. The bad news is that the remedy has many side effects; this causes serious concerns among dermatologists with a good reputation.
Meanwhile, the risk and side effects are quite serious. “The Bulletin of the Food and Drug Administration” reports that the drug causes inflammation on the lips in more than 90 percent of overdose cases, dry skin and mucous membranes in 80 percent of them, conjunctivitis in 40 percent, rash and hair loss in almost 10 percent, skin infection and its peeling on the palms and soles, as well as an increased tendency to sunburn – in 5 percent of cases when the drug was taken in the bigger amount then it was prescribed.
Most often adolescents who suffer from acne during puberty take this drug.
If your child has acne, you can help but think about the short-term and delayed consequences of the drug. New items appear on the market and in the drug stores almost daily. It is necessary, in particular, to weigh the risk and the benefit of the drug and decide whether it is worth the risk. It is necessary to know all the possible consequences of the medication used, and not only the most obvious, visible to the naked eye.
From the pharmaceutical information about Accutane, it can be seen that it acts not only on the skin. In high concentration, it is deposited in many tissues and organs. Studies show that the drug is to be found in the liver, ureters, adrenal glands, ovaries and lacrimal glands seven days after admission. In addition, Accutane causes changes in the blood. 25 percent of the studies showed an increase in plasma triglycerides, 25 percent experienced a decrease in high-density lipoproteins, and cholesterol increased in 7 percent.
All these results were shown while overdosing: it’s quite important for those who want to achieve the bigger effect for the shortest time by taking too many pills. In order to avoid an increased risk of side effects, the manufacturer recommends checking the lipid levels (fats) in the blood.
The remedy has an effect not only on fats in the bloodstream:
- 40 percent of the recipients found other abnormalities in the blood, meaning that the body is not all right, but not pointing to a specific problem,
- thrombocytes increased in 13 percent, which can lead to changes in blood clotting,
- from 10 to 20 percent showed a decrease in the level of erythrocytes and leukocytes, the presence of red blood cells in the urine, abnormal levels of enzymes in the serum. Less than 10 percent experienced the appearance of protein and erythrocytes in the urine or increased blood sugar levels.
During the clinical trials, only two children showed premature closure of the epiphysis on X-rays. The latter is of great importance for adolescents: the epiphysis is part of the bone, which must remain open throughout the period of growth. Premature closure of the epiphysis will not allow achieving normal growth. 14 patients had abnormal indicators and another indicator of bone growth – alkaline phosphatase in the blood. For 72 patients who had no vision problems, during the overdue use of the medication, corneal opacity (cataract) was recorded. The results of animal experiments may be important for adolescent boys: at the moment, a similar effect of the drug on sperm production is being studied. All this indicates that before taking the drug, you need to make sure of your health, and in no case should you exceed the dosage of the medicine, observing the maximum treatment time with it. In this case, the risks will be minimal and the effect uniquely justifies itself.