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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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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.

Reviewed on July 13, 2016

I was quite sceptical when taking it at first because I noticed no difference in my skin in months. The whole treatment actually makes your skin and acne worse before it gets better (100% worth it and the only way to cure it). This is completely normal and is just your skin releasing all the horrible greasy toxins to get them out of your system as they cause acne. While on the drug admittedly only the last few months did I see improvement, and I expected instant overnight changes, but in the real world this isn't the case. After I had been discontinued from the drug I was completely cured of my acne a month or so later, with minor scarring which will soon fade!

Couldn't ask for more, it's brilliant

Note: Can affect mood while on the drug, I noticed quite a few lows, but of course makes up for the massive high I get every morning looking in the mirror now!

by Charles Marcus on 07/15/2016 06:15
Can't wait to see the miracle!
Clear Skin Is possible in this lifetime :)
Reviewed on July 10, 2016

Like all of you reading this write up.. I was once (until a few weeks back..) a frequent visitor of Acne blog sites , not that i loved reading about it, but was left with no choice to find a solution to what i was going through. All i did was to shy away from the mirror and unmeet a lot of people to stay away from pitying questions and stares. All this started a few years back when I did not know that Acne can become the Cuss word of your life nor did i know that I will be spending rest of my years looking for a holy grail that did not exist! All i remember is meeting doctors and then meeting a lot of doctors. Every time i meet a new doctor and get a new product, life is filled with hope for a few days and then I am forced to come back to my DIY's and blogs. Years later, when I still wasn't tired of meeting doctors and trying DIY’s, all i accomplished was to find out what did not work for me. While benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin became the tough routine, my facials and skin treatments took a laid back seat. I had tried almost everything that’s out there and was soon an expert myself with the chemical names and compositions. Accutane was feared and was not a choice for years. I meet a doctor and am prescribed Accutane 20 mg and I come back reading the blogs on what a nightmare it could be to get into the course of 6 months. Here I am after 3 months on Accutane, with No Acne! Ya No Acne at all. Sun screen with a SPF 40 and a beeswax lip balm in the night is all you need to get through this. IB was minimal and dryness can drive you nuts, but that doesn’t stand a chance before your flawless skin. Accutane it is!