Isotretinoin is an oral medication used to treat severe acne (nodulo-cystic acne). Isotretinoin is a retinoid – a natural derivative of Vitamin A. It is also found naturally in the body, produced by the liver in small quantities. It is sold under many brand names, including Accure®, Oratane®, Isohexal®, Sotret, Amnesteem® and Claravis®.

Isotretinoin affects the four ways that acne develops:

  1. Reduces the size of the skin's oil glands and oil produced.
  2. Reduction in oil also reduces the amount of acne bacteria in the skin.
  3. Slows down the rate that skin cells are produced in the pore, which results in a reduction of clogged pores.
  4. Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the inflammation experience by some acne sufferers.

During the first month of treatment, the acne breakouts may worsen at first, but utimately achieves partial or complete clearance of acne. The majority of people receiving the treatment experience long-term remission of acne symptoms.

As effective as Isotretinoin is, it also has many side effects. One such side effect is that it can cause birth defects in the unborn children of pregnant women. As such, manditory registration, patient counseling and reporting in the online sytem called "iPledge" is also required in order for your doctor to prescribe isotretinoin. The iPledge program is designed to help prevent the use of isotretinoin during pregnancy, due to the drug's high risk of birth defects.

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