"The Nuclear Option"
There is no argument amongst dermatologists--isotretinoin is the most effective acne medication. However, as with most things in life, you must take the good with the bad, and when it comes to isotretinoin, the bad side can be dramatic, lifelong, and sometimes utterly tragic.
The good side: After 4-5 months of taking the oral prescription medication isotretinoin, research shows that about 66% of people are clear of acne for the long term. It can clear even severe acne, and can prevent a lifetime of scarring in people who suffer with severe, widespread, and scarring acne.
The bad side: Unfortunately, the power of isotretinoin comes with a dark side that presents itself in the form of numerous side effects, from less severe problems like dry, cracked skin in almost everyone who takes it, to less common, but potentially permanent side effects like joint pain and vision changes. In fact, the U.S. military will not allow previous isotretinoin users to become fighter pilots. Most tragic and horrific is the birth defects it can cause if used by pregnant women. It is the #1 most birth defect-causing medication on the market. It cannot be stated more strongly: Never, ever use isotretinoin if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
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