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Accutane (isotretinoin)
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Brand: Accutane

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Accutane (isotretinoin)


Active Ingredients:
Isotretinoin in 10-mg, 20-mg and 40-mg soft gelatin capsules.

Inactive Ingredients:
Beeswax, butylated hydroxyanisole, edetate disodium, hydrogenated Soybean oil">soybean oil flakes, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and Soybean oil">soybean oil. Gelatin capsules contain glycerin and parabens (methyl and propyl), with the following dye systems: 10 mg - iron oxide (red) and titanium dioxide; 20 mg - FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Blue No. 1, and titanium dioxide; 40 mg - FD&C Yellow No. 6, D&C Yellow No. 10, and titanium dioxide.

Items marked with red have tested a 3 or above (out of 5) in comedogenic (pore-clogging) testing.

The list of ingredients above is provided for informational purposes only. Always check the actual product label in your possession for the most accurate ingredient information due to product changes or upgrades that may not yet be reflected on our web site.

Accutane (isotretinoin)

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Accutane (isotretinoin)

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Tough but worth the results
Reviewed on August 11, 2016

Background info- I'm 23 female and have been suffering from acne since the age of 17; my self esteem went to pot rather quick because of it.

I was put on several different creams for months at a time, this made no difference. I was then put on four different medications (anything up to 6-8 months on each one) with absolutely no success.

I went through stages of depression in relation to my acne and it did eventually cause me to lose my job.

I was then referred to a hospital and after a VERY long process of appointments I was put on Accutane .

Week one on Accutane :

my face chest and back are very much covered in acne. Taking 20mg a day of Accutane

Week two:

Accutane caused a flare up on my face, more spots than usual around mouth and chin area, have noticed the skin on my face to be peeling in certain areas, mostly on my forehead and lips.

Week three:

Very dry lips, needing to use loads of lip balm all the time, still many spots around my face. Skin is peeling a LOT on my face- literally comes off like when you get bad sun burn, is a little saw and tacky when it does peel off, still got spots on my face and back.

Week four:

Chest area seems to be clearing slightly, lips are terribly dry, have been getting nose bleeds (never usually get them). Face spots are still there but haven't actually noticed any new ones in a couple of days.

Week five and six:

Now on 40mg a day. By the end of the week pretty much all my spots have gone. Still dry lips , very dry scalp and skin overall. Nose bleeds have gone. Have been experiencing back pains and aches but this might just be a coincidence. Skin does peel in places and is a little sensitive in those areas.

Weeks seven to nine:

Still on and remaining on 40mg. Sides of my mouth are constantly dry and cracking, lips still dry but all spots gone and no signs of new ones. My skin very easily breaks and will often find small bleeding cuts on my arms from only doing usual day to day things .

Week ten +

Still have one more month to go on Accutane but the results are remaining constant at the moment - no spots at all for the first time in years! The Accutane has been a very strong and difficult drug to take and I wouldn't say it has been easy because it hasn't - but I am loving the results and if I had to go back and do it all again, I would chose to take the Accutane again 100%!!

Some tips I have picked up along the way:

Drink loads of water- it really does help

Use a 'hydration' shampoo and conditioner as you might find you get dry scalp

Get a load of good lip balms and put one in evey bag and coat pocket you own

Use dermol (can buy in any pharmacy) on dry areas of skin at night

Use a good face cream every day and night

Always carry a cream in your bag

If your hands get tacky like mine did then put a small amount of talc powder on them before you do your hair (makes life a little easier)

Use a hydrating face wash and scrub morning and night to keep your skin clean and to get rid of the skin that does peel off

Always use a clean towel only for your face

Take extra vitamins (I take vitamin C and zinc ) But do NOT take vitamin A!

And finally have faith that Accutane might work for you, after my skin flared up in the first batch I was taking I became so upset I cried literally for days but I continued to take Accutane and I'll never regret it!

Still taking- definitely worth it
Reviewed on August 6, 2016

I'm a 19yr female, i started taking roaccutane in april this year. I started at 20mg a day because of my weight, i'm very thin, i have to say that even on the LOWEST dose my skin improved massively. I had dreadfully severe cystic acne in which case was progessively worsening as i grew older. The first time i experienced acne i was 14 years old and i used all sorts of antibiotics and topicals and face washes etc but nothing really worked. I kept doing this in hopes that my acne would go away when im older however it just got worse.

When i found out about roaccutane i really didnt care much about the side effects as i was at my lowest point in life. My acne was disgusting i had huge cysts on my face and sometimes going in the shower would cause them to pop and i would just have pus pouring from my face (ew gross i know). So i went to the GP without make up on which for me was very hard to do and showed my GP my acne and he said he would be happy to refer me to a derm. Like i said i had severe cystic acne, it was all over my cheeks and i did get other spots/pimples on my chin and around my mouth. I also had it on my back all the way down to my waist and on the top of my arms and occasionally on the very top of my crotch area and in between my breasts.

Starting at 20mg a day for 3 months MASSIVELY reduced my acne and i am now completely free of acne from everywhere apart from the top of my back (just a few small spots/pimples nothing too bad). Im now on my 4th month of roaccutane and my dose has been upped to 40mg per day and its really working for me. Yes i have side effects which result in my lips being very dry, skin is dry but not too bad, joints do get a bit painful here and there and i am very sensitve meaning i will cry over dumb things that i dont really need to cry about. E.g other day i missed a bus and it got me really worked up have no idea why lol. But all in all im only 4 months in and i have to say its working and im sooo much more confident now, ive had compliments on my complexion now more than i ever have in my entire life and i just look great and i feel great and if you are feeling stuck and tired and depressed about your acne i highly reccomend that you speak to your GP or a derm about Roaccutane because honestly I'm extremely happy that my skin is free from it.

Awful side effects but worth it
Reviewed on August 4, 2016

background info- female, 17 yo, tried 5 different antibiotics and several topical creams before being referred to the dermatologist by the GP. I live in the UK so I recieved a 4 month treatment of 40mg per day roaccutane for free on the NHS after about a 4 month wait.


completely clear skin after 4 months

during treatment my hair got much less greasy and barely needed washing. However this stopped after i finished my course


dry skin everywhere, although was manageable with a lot of moisturiser and lip balm

eczema on arms, back of knees, and hands

severe back pain lasting the whole duration of the course, couldn't be helped by physiotherapy

(the worst side effect) irratable bowel syndrome. Severe pain while passing stools (to the extent of crying), constipation and blood when I wiped. Was severly debilitating and made me afraid of going to the loo for 4 months


despite the awful side effects, I do not at all regret taking roaccutane even though i only had mild-moderate acne as it increased by confidence SO much

Didn't work
Reviewed on February 4, 2016

i had severe acne and ive have suffered from acne since i was 18 i tried so many acne products and vitamins it didnt work so i went to see my derm and got prescribed this medication after that i saw the result it cleared all acne off and no side effect for me works!!


My acne came back after 6 months and now it's even worse than before. My body didn't feel good on Isotretinoin and I'm considering taking another course of it but I'm not sure

by Rosebud777 on 02/06/2016 21:09
What mg were you on? Just curious?
Exceptional Solution for Long term Acne Suferrers
Reviewed on August 2, 2016

I'm writing this review several years after finishing my first course of accutane. I'm a male, currently 23 and I started my first course when I was 17. It's been about 6 years since the initial treatment and that being said, I noticed several things while on the medication that should ease any apprehension about the efficacy of the medicine.

If you're reading this review, it's likely you're considering accutane as I once was several years ago. If you haven't heard/ read the common concerns regarding the medicine then after reading several reviews on this site, I'm almost certain you'll know of them.

There are some symptoms that make some people hesitant...things like dry lips, headaches, and sometimes joint pain. If you're considering accutane however, it's likely that while those symptoms may not seem appealing, the cost-benefit analysis places the course of treatment higher than the presence of persistent acne. I can attest to that value as being completely worth the course of treatment.

Also, a little bit of effort goes a very long way in mitigating any potential symptoms.

Dry/ Chapped lips is easily mitigated with over the counter moisturizers like CeraVe or prescription strength moisturizers...both of which when applied liberally basically relieve the symptom.

Headaches- if you have this symptom it will likely be only on occasion and ibuprofen/acetaminophen (what is typically taken in most other circumstances) is a quick and effective remedy.

Joint pain- some people have this symptom, others don't. I noticed it a little bit but a very effective way to mitigate this is to move around. It's great anyways to get the heart beating faster even if for 15-20 minutes but any amount of excercise helps tremendously.

There's a few more symptoms that sometimes people find themselves experiencing but, I along with several friends at around the same time (in highschool) were being treated with accutane and, the concensus was a similar theme to the above mentioned symptoms...even without efforts to mitigate any symptoms the effect after 5-6 months of treatment is incredible. Minor efforts when the symptoms present themselves and it makes the process towards the end result even better.

I haven't ever written on my experience with the medicine but a few years ago I was browsing the Internet and I read that Hoffman-La Roche was no longer selling Accutane at U.S. Pharmacies. There existed a bit of controversy/ concern when the drug was being sold and given the amount of negative press surrounding the medicine, I decided to share my experience on Accutane.

To say that course of treatment worked wonders for my complexion is an understatement. As I wrote previously, if there's any hesitation with starting, there are plenty of tips available for managing symptoms for the duration of treatment (and plenty of testimony hailing the wonders of the end result). This, of course is why I felt the need to add to the list of positive reviews when I read that La Roche pulled the medication from U.S. shelves. The drug literally did wonders for my complexion and self esteem in high school and if any other person desires the same results, I see no reason to not share my experience.

I started in winter time, an ideal time for the course of treatment as typically sun exposure is less in the winter months as opposed to other times of the year. My course lasted ~5 months and as one might expect by taking a derivative of Vitamin A, everything gets dry. A great thing for acne but not something people who have particularly oily skin are accustomed to.

It is very convenient as well. Instead of using topical creams like many have used before accutane, virtually every sebaceous gland in the body shuts down. Any pore that can be clogged is eventually dried out and the end result is a fantastic complexion from head to toe. I was very dry during the process but the end result is again, totally worth it. My acne didn't clear up instantly but the last month and a half produced baby smooth skin. That lasted for over a year (complete remission) after the treatment stopped and it was about a year and a half later that the occasional blemish would arise (when I say ocassional I mean every few weeks one or two would arise on the face). At 23 I find myself using acne medicine again but, the persistent acne had never returned until a few months ago. So far, it's been almost 6 years with a gradual return of persistent acne. I've heard 2nd and 3rd courses are not uncommon and typically, if lifetime remission isn't achieved in the first course, the second or third will likely yield the intended result. Even despite the return of persistent acne (my acne was never widespread but was persistent, unresponsive to topical cream acne) I still to this day do not regret the initial course of Accutane. Some people go into a lifetime of remission and many others go their entire lives with only a few blemishes here and there after their course of treatment. Not to sound like a broken record but, even despite the side effects that some people hesitate with, the end result is a huge relief for persistent acne sufferers.

I should note as well, I played sports all my life so staying active was a 6 day a week occurrence which definitely relieved the joint pain. Also, my acne was greatly improved but I did not have 100% clear skin until a month and a half before I finished treatment. I made a minor diet change eliminating dairy products and in my experience, this helped unclog every single pore in my body. Glorious is the day during treatment when your complexion is completely blemish free.

Essentially, despite the concerns people have voiced regarding the negative effects of Accutane, the drug has relieved the acne suffering of many people, myself included.

I would recommend considering Accutane as an option (even more so if it's not already a consideration). Clear skin is just something I think acne sufferers never really expect in their future. Accutane makes that future a reality.

Amazing, life changing drug for me. When I was on it and for the remission afterwards.
Reviewed on July 29, 2016

5 stars for when you're on it and the remission afterwards. My happiest times were actually spent on this drug seeing the changes in my skin sometimes on a rapid basis! The remission afterwards is incredible - no side effects of the drug and clear skin. Unfortunately I've taken it twice and it cleared me for 8 months, and 1 year 2 months respectively. Now I'm about 6 months into the second relapse and I'm devastated. Would award minus stars for what I'm going through now. I used Differin after the first course and Isotrex after the second to try to prolong the remission but the relapse is in full force now. If I can't clear it I would consider a third round. Amazing, life changing drug for me. When I was on it and for the remission afterwards.

Take your acne seriously!
Reviewed on July 27, 2016

I'm going to do this review in sections to try to make it more helpful!


I am a 22 year old female who has had acne for probably 10 years. My acne is not severe, in the aspect that my face was not full of severe cysts. Normally I would have 2-3 spots at a time, sometimes more, maybe up to 10 at a time. The type of acne I would get, however, was pretty severe--not just little, poppable whiteheads, but huge, painful cysts. Cysts that are not covetable with makeup and make your face hurt and make you style your hair to try to cover them or hide them with your hand while talking to someone. THESE SUCK. I KNOW :(. They last at least for weeks, sometimes months (I had one the size of a quarter at thanksgiving that is still not fully gone and its July..). These kind of bumps leave red marks if I'm lucky, but I do have a few scars.


Just about everything. Antibiotics in highschool, did nothing. Differin, Retin A, Epiduo, Proactiv, every drugstore face wash, cream, salicylic acid. I tried spironolactone for about 9 months--it helped for a little bit and then I got some more huge cysts and was fed up so I stopped and decided to ask my derm about accutane.

IF YOU TAKE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE FROM THIS REVIEW PLEASE LET IT BE TO TAKE YOURSELF AND YOUR ACNE SERIOUSLY! I ignored my acne for years and downplayed it, tried new face washes, new "home remedies", blah blah blah. IF YOUR ACNE IS BOTHERING YOU SEVERELY NOTHING FROM THE DRUGSTORE OR DEPARTMENT STORE IS REALLY GOING TO HELP YOU! It took me a lot of time and a lot of money spent to realize that! Please get yourself to a dermatologist. Another piece of advice--not all derms are created equally. Find someone who will LISTEN TO YOU! My first derm looked at my acne when I was about 15 and said "eh, I've seen worse" and then prescribed something I told her I had already tried. Find someone who will listen to you when you say whatever you're trying isn't working! Please! Save yourself from wasted money and scarring.


I finally resorted to accutane after I failed at spironolactone and the monster cyst ruined my thanksgiving.

I broke out pretty bad the first month, but nothing more than I was used to really. I started with 40mg and worked my way up to 80 mg over a course of 5.5 months. I did break out and get cysts pretty much the entire treatment. Just when I thought I was cured another big one would show up. It was soooo frustrating. However, I finished a little over a month ago and I haven't had a breakout since! Not even a tiny little pimple. (After stopping isotret I just started using a topical 12% AHA at night). This is like a new record for me, ITS AWESOME! My redness and scars are fading and I'm happy as can be! The treatment was long and NOT easy, but so worth it and I hope it lasts!


The lips,man, the lips. Until actually starting I thought people might be exaggerating about the dry lips. "I'll just stay on top of it", "put on a lot of Vaseline and I'll be fine", I thought. NOOOPPEEEEE. Within 2 weeks of starting my lips were red, swollen, burning, and cracked at both corners. Vaseline was not enough and neither was the aquaphor "lip therapy" stuff that everyone says to use--in fact it made my lips burn more. The only thing that helped me was the aquaphor extremely dry skin therapy stuff (which comes in a big jar and isn't specifically for lips. It's sort of like Vaseline but thicker, so it helped more. I had to apply this every 3/4 hours throughout my treatment and even now I apply it a few times a day. Dr. Dans cortibalm (Chapstick with hydrocortisone, an anti inflammatory agent) also helped. I had a few bloody noses and the inside of my nose was always dry and crusty. I got some eczema like rashes around my body, nothing too bad. Towards the end with higher doses I got really bad dry, red eyes which I started using moisture drops for. No hair loss, no mood swings or depression. My first month on this was spent backpacking around Europe in the winter so I was by no means "taking it easy". A month after finishing my lips are still a little dry, but all the other side effects are gone.

My skin is a lot less oily, my pores are a little smaller, and I can go MUCH longer without washing my hair. Like a week. It rocks!

Keep in mind this medication is different for everyone, some people may experience severe side effects. It just depends on the person! But don't let scary stories stop you from talking to your dermatologist about this medication, because like it helped me, it might be able to help you!

Don't give up guys :)

it probably saved my life
Reviewed on July 23, 2016

I really wish I had taken this sooner. I don't get why people write bad reviews about Isotretinoin. It is indeed a cure for acne, but you have to take it with responsibility, listen to your body, get blood tests, consult your dermatologist and so on.

Work in progress. Seeking inspiration....
Reviewed on July 22, 2016

I'm 33 years old and this will be my second time on Accutane. The first time was AWFUL, I was in my mid twenties. My face never completely cleared and has actually gotten worse within the last few years. I originally thought my acne must be hormonal since I was getting massive cysts on my chin but after some blood work, it was determined that my hormones were normal. My heart was broken by this because all I want is a cure, a reason. Accutane was the last thing I wanted to do. So far it's been 2 weeks and my skin is VERY dry, my lips are very chapped, nose bleeds have been normal, my scalp has been very itchy and my acne is HORRIBLE. I'm trying to tough it up but I'm afraid this may not work since it didn't the last time. Is this really the miracle I am looking for?

by Charles Marcus on 07/26/2016 06:50
Patience is a virtue. You just have to fight depression by not looking your face in the mirror. don't think too much about your acne. I am also suffering from acne, but my skin is getting better now. I've been also hopeless when the drug worsen my acne. just wait the process and believe. You may tweak your diet for faster results. Wait and see. God bless!
by Jess33 on 08/06/2016 12:45
Thanks Charles for the nice message. I am trying my best to be patient. My cystic acne has improved but I'm noticing a lot of blackheads all over my face. This has been abnormal for me. It's only been month two. I'm still skeptical on whether this will actually work this time. Fingers crossed.
Wish I had taken this sooner!
Reviewed on July 19, 2016

I took accutane 8 years ago when I was in High School. I wish I had taken this drug sooner, instead of wasting all the time/money that I did trying other stuff that didn't work. All that waiting did was leave me with more scars.

Accutane for me was a dream. I had basically no side effects aside from a small rash that developed on my arms from dryness; but the doc recommended a drug store lotion that took care of that real quick. Honestly, I think people who are taking the medication need to let it run it's course and stop scrolling through internet forums every step of the way. I mean it! I don't even know if this site existed back then but I certainly never knew about it or even went on the internet to search for accutane once. I was so busy, I just took it daily and went on about my day, and I think that's why my experience was so great. If your constantly googling the medicine and overthinking every possible side effect, it's just going to stress you out and make you think you have side effects that you probably don't even have haha.

So, 8 years later I am now experiencing a very mild hormonal breakout that I am currently treating. However, let me stress the word MILD as compared to how my acne was in high school. It literally does not compare at all. This breakout does not make me think twice about my decision to take accutane. I was able to go through my second half of high school and all of college without having to worry about my skin at all. I had perfect skin and rarely got breakouts no matter what I ate, how much sleep I got or what I did to my face. No regrets at all.