Don't panic! If you been identified as a candidate for Accutane acne treatment, your doctor has probably weighed the risks and discussed everything with you. This is just a refresher, in case you missed anything and aren't good at deciphering the confusing print in the product information pamphlet!
First, the good stuff - for people who take isotretinoin, or Accutane, acne usually clears up within a month or two and stays gone - for a while, at least! Accutane works by drying up the oil in the sebaceous gland that commonly blocks the pores and causes acne.
Accutane acne medicine does have some side effects, the most common of which are dried lips, skin and nose, nosebleed and irritated eyes and eyelids. These can usually be handled by upping your vitamin E consumption (gotta love those fish oil capsules!) and using a good non oily moisturizer.
Now for the bad stuff. The main danger with Accutane acne medication is birth defects. If you are a woman, you really, really can't risk getting pregnant when you are taking Accutane. Even men who take Accutane are warned not to impregnate a woman while taking it.
If you are female and you want to be prescribed Accutane, you will have to take a pregnancy test - possibly two. Then you have to sign a waiver stating that you understand the risks, and that you understand an abortion might be advised if you do become pregnant (I told you, this is bad stuff!).
The best course of action is to double or triple up on birth control - some physicians say a form of hormonal birth control (such as a patch, pill or shot) plus a spermicidal (foam, lubricant) plus a barrier (condom, etc) is the best way to go. This should give you an idea how serious it is!
The other serious side effects sometimes reported include liver problems, loss of night vision, headaches and depression. Regular blood tests can keep an eye on your liver, and just tell your doctor if you have any vision problems or headaches, and definitely if you become suicidal depressed.
These last few symptoms are very rare (only occurring in less than 5% of patients on Accutane), so you have a very slim chance of experiencing them - it is just good to be prepared just in case, so if you do have a problem you can find out if it is the drug causing it.
Back to the good points - Accutane often will keep working for months or even years after you quit taking it, so if you are a good candidate you might want to try it. Lots of teens have benefited from Accutane, and adult acne sufferers also have experienced success!
Like any prescription medication, Accutane has certain risks, and you are the only one who can decide if they are acceptable or not! Just be sure you know all the facts before signing up for Accutane acne treatment yourself.