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Accutane Long Term Side Effects

Side Effects of the Long Term Use of Accutane

Long term side effects of accutane are mostly associated with a number of skin disorders. Along with that, the body loses its immunity due to chronic exposure to this drug. We explain them in details over here.
Saptakee Sengupta
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Accutane is the trade name of the chemical isotretinoin, a medication for severe acne. It is capable of halting secretion of sebum, thereby controlling occurrence of acne. Its use dates back to the 1930s wherein doctors prescribed accutane if antibiotics failed to show positive results.
Isotretinoin, being capable of killing malignant cells was earlier used in chemotherapy which was given to patients suffering from pancreatic and brain cancer. Accutane is actually an oral retinoid, derived from vitamin A. It gradually became popular owing to its acne healing properties. Although, it's capable of curing acne and related skin problems, it has dangerous side effects in the long run. We explain you the effects in the following segment.
Long Term Side Effects of Accutane
The mechanism of action of isotretinoin in clearing up acne is still not clear. After a thorough research, scientists have found out that the drug stimulates production of the chemical neutrophil gelatinase which is associated with lipocalin (NGAL) present in the skin. NGAL, induces apoptosis of the sebaceous gland and shows anti-bacterial effect on Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium causing acne. This reduces sebum production and prevents acne. Being under isotretinoin therapy gives rise to several side effects. Have a look.
Birth Defects
Accutane triggers birth defects in fetus. It can retard development of a baby when consumed by women during their pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women should never undergo accutane treatment even if they are affected with severe acne. A woman planning for a baby should also not use it for treating acne.
Dry Skin
Heavy doses of accutane destroy oil glands, making the skin dry and fragile. Lips, mouth, eyes, skin and nasal passages start drying with regular application. Dry skin on face can still be managed with lubricants, but it becomes difficult to breathe when nasal passages become extremely dry.
Scarred Skin
The skin becomes more vulnerable to scarring when a person is undergoing cosmetic treatment on the skin along with accutane. It's important to consult a doctor in such cases.
Hair Problems
Using accutane for a long period causes thinning of hair and scalp diseases. Dandruff, rashes, patchy skin and hair loss are other symptoms of high accutane dose.
Health Changes
An individual suffers from severe depression when he takes accutane continuously. Along with depression, he will also experience nausea and headache. All these health discomforts finally lead to loss of appetite.
Some more Complications
The symptoms usually go unnoticed initially but the side effects of accutane might lead to serious consequences in the long run as one becomes vulnerable to multiple health disorders. We have listed them below.
  • Initially, the person will have blurred vision during night but after a sustained time period he might permanently lose his vision.
  • Rectal bleeding, nose bleeding and diarrhea become common after prolonged use.
  • It has been reported that even healthy individuals undergoing isotretinoin treatment for a long time can get crippled with arthritis.
  • It increases levels of body fats to a risky level.
  • The skin becomes more prone to sunburn on using isotretinoin retinoid.
  • The chemical potentially weakens the immune system.
Accutane has high lipophilicity, so oral administration is usually suggested along with or after fat rich meals. The severity of the side effects depends upon the dosage and the time period of exposure to the drug. A clinical study has shown that there's no difference between the pharmacokinetics of isotretinoin on patients with healthy skin and acne. From this statement, you can well understand the fact that its side effects are more prominent than its healing ability. Thus, using accutane is not at all advisable. Instead you can opt for natural remedies to cure acne.