Isotretinoin (Accutane®) is a retinoid or vitamin A analog, which means that its molecular structure is similar to Vitamin A. It was first approved in the US in 1982. Capsules come in either 10mg or 40mg doses.

How Do I Use This Medication?

You should take capsules as directed with fat-containing food for example, with 2% or whole milk. The fat in the food helps the medication to be fully absorbed so that enough can be delivered to your skin to make it effective.

Women who are of childbearing age need to use two reliable forms of contraception while taking this medication, and for one month after completing the treatment.

How Well Does It Work?

It works slower for Rosacea than it does for acne treatment. A larger dose is often required, compared to the dose requirements when used for treating acne. Generally not as effective in rosacea compared to acne.

How Does It Work?

Isotretinoin basically helps the sebaceous gland to mature. It does so in several ways. Testosterone drives this oil gland to produce a number of different oils that influence the lining of the hair follicle. Accutane® brings the amount of oils to a more normal level and helps to change the composition of the oil so that it does not allow the pores to clog up. It prevents an excess of keratin from being produced, which means that comedones are not so readily formed.

This is the most effective therapy currently available. It can be used to treat your acne, if it is severe, and will reduce the risk of scarring. However, only doctors who have experience in its use should prescribe this medication. This is because regular monitoring, including periodic blood testing, is necessary. Women and girls who are using this medication must follow the manufacturer’s Pregnancy Prevention Program.

Frequently Asked Questions About Isotretinoin:

1. “Can I take other medications?”

The following drug interactions have been reported:

  • Isotretinoin may reduce the level of Carbamazepine
  • Avoid isotretinoin if you are allergic to Parabens (it is a preservative)

2. “Which brands are available?”

  • Accutane® (Roche)

3. “What conditions are treated by this medication?”


  • Acne
  • Severe recalcitrant nodular cystic acne that is not responsive to other therapy