Roaccutane is one of the most effective treatments against acne. The active substance in Roaccutane is isotretinoin and it has the capability of shrinking oil glands in the skin and of reducing bacteria that causes acne. It is also has an anti-inflammatory effect. All these benefits recommend it as one of the best choices in the treatment of severe cases of acne.
Unfortunately, as effective as it is, Roaccutane may come with some serious side effects that make doctors think twice before recommending it to their patients. Being a systemic medication, it affects the whole body. Roaccutane side effects are so many and so widespread that one needs to carefully weigh the risk versus the benefits of following this treatment.
One of the most common side effects is skin dryness. Patients also suffer from dry lips and eyes, so they need to use moisturizers to counteract this effect of the drug. Dry eyes might generate vision problems and a loss of night vision. This makes the drug unsuitable for plane pilots.
Some patients may develop respiratory symptoms such as bronchospasms, various infections, the disappearance of the voice and difficulties in breathing.
A small number of people develop hepatotoxicity and pancreatitis. Both conditions are severe and should be treated with maximum of attention. Low back pain, joint pain, tendonitis, arthritis and bone overgrowth are also among the Roaccutane side effects that occur in 10% to 35% of cases.
There are also digestive symptoms that may occur as a consequence of this treatment. Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are among the conditions that seem to be related to the use of isotretinoin. Occasionally, some patients develop anemia, thrombocytopenia and agranulocytosis, as well as other abnormal blood tests.
Patients under this drug may develop depression symptoms and suicide tendencies. Despite the fact that many people reported these side effects, scientists weren’t able to establish any relationship between them and the treatment. Nonetheless, these symptoms are mentioned on the label of the drug.
The teratogenic effect of the drug is perhaps the biggest threat of all. Roaccutane causes life threatening birth defects which are so serious that women under treatment are required to make use of two different birth control methods during their treatment. Babies born by women under this treatment are extremely likely to suffer from various birth defects that include the skull, the eyes, the ears, the central nervous system, the thymus and many other organs.
The topical form of isotretinoin is much safer, but it is not as far as effective as the pills. Unfortunately, many people, teenagers especially, will continue to follow this treatment, as it can help them regain their self-esteem and free them from acne. They will risk to suffer from those nasty side effects only to see their skin cleared. The fact that some people take the treatment well, without major side effects, makes sufferers think that perhaps they are also going to be among the fortunate ones, so they will go for the treatment despite all risks it poses.