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The Prescription Acne Drug Accutane Has Many Side Effects:

Accutane is a prescription drug used to treat patients that have severe cystic acne.  Accutane, manufactured by La Roche, is a synthetic form of vitamin A.  This acne drug is associated with a number of adverse side effects and should only be prescribed to patients who have been unresponsive to other acne therapies including antibiotics.  Additionally, Accutane must only be used by females who are not pregnant or become pregnant while undergoing therapy because this drug is known to cause severe birth defects.

Accutane therapy is initiated for 15 to 20 weeks and has shown to provide for complete and prolonged remission of acne.  The general dose is from 0.01 to 0.5 mg/kg taken twice a day with food and should be taken at the same time each day.  It is important to take your medication with food for proper absorption.  Accutane is not absorbed well without some food in your stomach.

Clinical trials and postmarketing observations have reported side effects that are similar to patients who have taken high doses of vitamin A that include dryness of skin, lips, nasal passages and eyes.  Most side effects in clinical trials were mild and reversible when therapy stopped, however, in some cases remained for long periods after therapy was terminated.  Complications have been reported ten years after terminating Accutane therapy.

A number of severe side effects have been reported that affected both the body and brain and include:

Cardiovascular complications such as fast heart beat, stroke and clotting
High blood sugar levels
Inflammatory Bowel Disease including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease producing symptoms of chronic bloody diarrhea, intestinal/stomach pain and cramping
Liver dysfunction
Esophageal ulcerations
Allergic reactions
Stroke and seizures
Increase in cholesterol

This list is by no means complete but lists the most severe side effects that have been reported.

La Roche Recalls Accutane:


Over 13 million patients worldwide have taken Accutane.  In its hay day Accutane was thought to be a “wonder drug” in its ability to clear up this debilitating form of acne for adolescents and adults alike.  As time progressed, Accutane became linked to a number of adverse effects and in particular birth defects, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and severe depression.  Unfortunately, the adolescents and young adults of yesterday who had to combat severe acne with Accutane are now living  with the side effects of this wonder drug many years down the road.

Accutane, manufactured by La Roche was first marketed in 1982.  Many reports of adverse side effects have plagued La Roche from the very beginning.  In June 2009, La Roche finally discontinued sales of this acne drug.  According to La Roche, this Accutane recall was necessary because they were receiving a lot of market pressure from the generic forms that had become available as well as increasing costs of litigation.  Most of the lawsuits fall into the category of Inflammatory Bowel disease including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.  More than 5,000 lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs alleging they developed Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Millions of dollars have been awarded so far and probably much more to come as more people become aware of the possible connection between the acne drug Accutane and bowel disorders.

There is no cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease but treatments vary depending on the severity of symptoms.  Individuals that have minor flair ups may be able to use OTC medications to relieve symptoms, however, others may require surgery to remove parts of the colon. It is best to contact your healthcare physician as soon as you become aware of these side effects.  The sooner the better because early treatment can prevent the extreme forms of colon disorders.

If you have experienced Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis or any other adverse side effects associated with the acne medication Accutane you may be entitled to financial compensation. You may also want to contact one of the many Accutane Lawyers if you were an Accutane user to see what your legal rights are.  Accutane lawsuits are being filed around the country.

Susan Ardizzoni, Ph.D. holds a Doctorate in Biology with a major in Neuroscience (medical) and minors in Biochemistry, Physics, and Mathematics with experience in basic and clinical research.  Although the author is not an attorney, this article was sponsored by the law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP and constitutes Attorney Advertising.

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