Accutane acne medication is reported to have severe side effects including increased risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), birth defects, depression and suicide. Recently, Health Canada warned about a risk of serious skin reactions. These Accutane side effects have resulted in lawsuits being filed against the manufacturers of the Accutane medication. Although Accutane has been pulled from the market, at the manufacturer's request, lawsuits are still pending.
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Accutane was prescribed for the treatment of severe acne or recalcitrant cystic nodular acne. It was often prescribed as the next-level treatment for acne after a course of Tetracycline had failed to diminish acne breakouts. Accutane worked by shrinking the skin's oil glands and diminishing their oil output. Accutane was a capsule taken orally every day for several months. Accutane, generically known as isotretinoin, was a synthetic derivative of vitamin A.
Accutane was first manufactured and distributed by Hoffman-LaRoche in 1982. Before it was pulled from the market, Accutane reportedly had annual sales of more than $1.2 billion. Accutane was pulled from the market by its manufacturer, Hoffman-LaRoche, who cited market pressure as the reason for pulling the medication.
With reports of medical problems and side effects linked to Accutane, the FDA was involved in alerting the public and promoting changes to the warning label. The FDA has put limitations on prescribing and filling Accutane prescriptions to avoid abuse and unauthorized use of the potentially dangerous drug.
Although Accutane has been pulled from the market, generic versions of isotretinoin, including Amnesteem, Claravis and Sotret, are still available on the market.
Accutane Side Effects
Accutane's side effects include inflammatory bowel disease, risk of birth defects, increased risk of suicide and a risk of serious skin reactions.
Accutane and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Accutane was linked to an inflammatory condition that occurs in the patient's colon and small intestine. Patients who develop inflammatory bowel disease experience chronically red and swollen intestines, weight loss, bleeding and pain and cramping. Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease generally appear within four years of the last exposure to Accutane. Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease can involve surgery to remove part or all of the patient's colon.
Inflammatory bowel disease includes two different diseases: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both affect the digestive system, although ulcerative colitis affects only the lining of the bowel, whereas inflammation from Crohn's disease can affect deep layers of the intestinal wall.
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease can develop serious problems including dehydration and anemia if the problem becomes severe. Problems associated with inflammatory bowel disease—such as diarrhea—can make it difficult for patients to continue on with their normal day-to-day living. Lawsuits have been filed against the maker of Accutane, alleging patients were not adequately warned about the risk of inflammatory bowel disease.
Accutane and Birth Defects
Shortly after international distribution, Accutane was in the news for allegations of causing severe birth defects when the mother took Accutane while pregnant. Birth defects included facial and bodily abnormalities and disorders of the brain, central nervous system, or cardiovascular system in the newborn baby.
In 2006, the FDA implemented the iPLEDGE program, designed to prevent the use of isotretinoin while pregnant. Patients who wanted to take Accutane were required to register for iPLEDGE, complete an informed consent form and, for women who were of childbearing age, comply with necessary pregnancy testing and be on two methods of birth control, unless the patient agreed to be abstinent.
Accutane and Suicide
Before being removed from the market, Accutane was linked to an increased risk of depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide. According to the FDA, from the time isotretinoin was marketed in 1982 through August 2004, there were 4,992 spontaneous reports of psychiatric disturbances associated with the use of isotretinoin in the US. Between 1982 and 2002 there were 165 reported suicides. However, the FDA noted that suicides linked to isotretinoin could be underreported, meaning there could be more than the 165 reported suicides. Prior to being removed from the market, Accutane the FDA warned that patients treated with isotretinoin should be observed for symptoms of depression or for suicidal thoughts.
Accutane and Skin Reactions
In February, 2010, Health Canada and Hoffman-LaRoche issued a warning about the increased risk of serious skin reactions in patients who used Accutane. Those risks include Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Both conditions are rare but can be serious, resulting in hospitalization, disability or death.
Hoffmann-LaRoche is the U.S. subsidiary of "The Roche Group", a leading international health care company focused on pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and vitamins. The Roche Group has been in international news for fraudulent conduct, discovery abuses, and patent infringement, including fraud against the United States Trademark and Patent Office. In 1999, Roche budgeted over one billion dollars for criminal fines, penalties, and settlement of cases.
Accutane Side Effects Legal Help
If you or a loved one has had adverse side effects from using the acne medication Accutane, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible class action lawsuit. Please click on the link below.
Passaic County, NJ: “I was a normal teenager before taking Accutane and my doctor assured me that it was safe,” says Jason. Many people like Jason, who suffer from Accutane side effects, no longer put their trust in doctors when they discover their doctors trust drug manufacturers [READ MORE]
Peoria, AZ: Kelly stopped taking Accutane after just two weeks but she believes the acne medicine has already caused permanent damage. “Soon after I started Accutane I had serious abdominal pain and now I have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome - it’s not a stretch to connect the dots,” says Kelly [READ MORE]
Gainsville, FL Mary doesn’t qualify for an Accutane lawsuit due to the statute of limitations, among other reasons, but she wants to warn teens against taking it. “If I knew about Accutane side effects I would have lived with severe acne,” she says. “I hope people will try something else for the skin problems besides this drug. [READ MORE]
I first took Accutane when I was 13 years old. At the time I was a healthy kid. I believe I was on the medication for 6 months. Shortly after this I became very depressed and suicidal. This has lasted for years, I had attempted suicide a few times, spent years in and out of psychiatric hospitals, therapy, outpatient care, and mood altering drug after another. I don't know off hand just how many drug cocktails they had tried on me. I still suffer from depression but have quick following up with therapy due to not having funds to continue paying for it. I also quit taking all the medications because none of them ever helped. I never stopped being depressed, or having anxiety, the meds just made me more tired and sedated. Or a number of other sideeffcts. Over the past 4 months or so I have been going to gastrointestinal doctors, after a weird ct scan ( that was done while ha I got kidney stones/pain: another dies ease no one in my family suffers from) and now over the past 3-4 months I have had two upper scopes and biopsies, found out I have IBS, GERD, acid reflux disease, and a hiatal hernia. They have prescribed me Prilosec and it has helped with some of the inflammation. I still have pain, and naeusea. I am waiting to hear back from the most recent scope. As of now they do not know the reason for my discomforts. At my last scope they brought up needing to schedule a colonoscopy. Throughout the past 12 years I have found it extremely difficult to function in day to day routines. I blame the depression, anxiety, and physical illnesses. I don't know if it is all from Accutane, but the time frame, and the severity of my issues and fact that my family history doesn't match up, I have a hard time thinking it isn't the result of this drug. I will never be able to live a normal life. I would get very good grades in school. But because of my mood disorders I have missed so much time and continue to do so because of being overwhelmed or scared and just not caring about anything at times. I want to give up so often and it makes me so angry because I know if it wasn't for my illnesses I could be anything I dreamed of being. I could have been a doctor. But having horrible attendance and isolating and being sick has kept me and continues to keep me from .. Living. I am only 25 years old.
Posted by Kristina
I used isotretinoin for five months and my skin is perfect now. The only side effect that I, and friends I know who used the medication, experienced was dry lips.
Posted by Washington
I now suffer from IBS, in the form of Crohn's. I used Accutane in 2000 for acne. I experienced stomach pain and blood-lined bowel movement. The pain from eating is so bad, that I've decided to stop eating food.
Posted by British Columbia
I was first prescribed Accutane when I was 16 years old. I was prescribed 20 mg and was given this for a 2-year period. I am now 31 and suffer from severe depression and suicidal thoughts that have affected me in drastic ways in my personal and professional life. Please help.
Posted by Anonymous
I had tried everything possible before my parents were told about acutane. My acne was so severe, they said if it couldnt get under control, I would have had permanent scarring on my face, chest, and back. My parents, fearing I would continue being tortured by other kids because of the acne, decided to give it a try. At first, even though it did help with my acne, it also gave the kids another reason to tease me. Really dry, flaky skin. I started taking it in the 7th grade and stopped close to the end of my 8th grade year. Every month, I had to have blood drawn and a pregnancy test, even though I was not sexually active. After I was done with the acutane, everything was great. But, I started having other problems that no one realized was related to acutane until all the lawsuit commercials starting airing. I have had stomach issues for a long time, nothing diagnosed. And, a long run with depression and suicide attempts. I was even hospitalized once because of it. Never knowing, why. It's not something I had dealt with before. Neither was it something that ran in the family. But it is something that I have dealt with and continue to deal with. It has negativly affected me in by leading to drug addiction, I'm now clean. Thank goodness. After that battle, I now deal with issues of severe chronic depression. So debilitating that sometimes I go months not wanting to see or speak to anyone. I almost lost my child over all this but she has been my main motivation to keep trying. I fight the thoughts of ending it all on a weekly basis and think of her to try to get through it. I have a hard time keeping a job and maintaining any real relationships because when my depression hits, it hits so hard that most don't even know how to deal with it. No matter what I say. Even if I warn them of what happens. It's like I completely shut down, don't care if I eat, shower, or see the light of day. Any and everything makes me hate myself and life. I have more of those days than I have good ones. It has really destroyed my life and future. Not to mention on top of that, who knows what and when I will get sick from whatever. And when I do, get out of the way is all I can say. So that makes me stay isolated as well. Because when it hits, I can not do anything til it passes. If I knew what is known now, I think my parents would have never agreed to let me take the medication in fear of what would or could happen. All my other siblings are all successful and healthy and I am the only one in the family, immediate and extended , who is dealing with any of this. They all said to sue but how do you prove it was the medicine that caused me the down spiral life I have been living ?
Posted by North Carolina
Severe cystic acne as a teenager after Tetracycline failed. I was 17 or 18 (1999-2000) when I starting taking it. Since then I have suffered from severe constipation, which they have now diagnosed as IBS. I also suffered from severe depression with suicidal thoughts starting in 2000, and was started on an antidepressant even when it was the happiest time of my life. (Straight A's in college, lived on my own, just got engaged, etc.) No history of either disease processes in my past before or in my family then or now. My constipation has gotten worse every day.
Posted by Wisconsin
I USED ACCUTANE AS A TEENAGER (MID-1990'S). I BEGAN SUFFERING NEUROLOGICAL ISSUES... DIAGNOSED WITH MS IN 2009.
Posted by Washington
I took Accutane when I was 15 years old to get rid of my serious acne on my face and my body. The Accutane cleared up my acne, but I began to have digestive problems 1-2 years after taking it. When I was 18, I finally went to the doctor about my problems, and I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. To this day, I am still going through testing to determine exactly what is wrong, but the symptoms of my Celiac disease never emerged until after I was done taking Accutane (in about 2009). I have dealt with inflammatory pain every single day of my life since before my diagnosis, and I have had to spend a lot of money on dietary changes. I've been extremely restricted in what I can and cannot consume, and I am still not 100% sure that my problems solely reside in Celiac disease. I was never informed that taking Accutane could result in these types of side effects.
Posted by New York
Around 1999 or 2000, I began taking Accutane for severe acne. About halfway through the six-month period of time, I began feeling depressed and suicidal. I have been on antidepressants ever since and struggle every day.
Posted by Utah
After taking Accutane, I was depressed and didn't really know what was going on as I was in my early twenties. Then I became suicidal and have attempted suicide three times. I am now on SSDI because I was unable to work due to Accutane side effects. I began Accutane in 1998, and have had mental health issues since.
Posted by Tennessee
I took accutane for about a year in high school from 1994 to 1995. Since then, my eyes are always dry. My face is cherry red. I am 34 years old and have already had a colonoscopy due to stomach cramps.
Posted by Anonymous
I just want to share my story with the readers. I took Acutane when it first came out in the early 80's. I am now 57 years of age, and I suffer from bowel problems, skin conditions, such as cutaneous lupus, Lichens, diabetes, Sjorgrens, Celiac Disease. Lets face it, I am miserable. I stay broke out with skin irritations constantly. I hope that before anyone takes this medicine, that they think twice before they do so. I wouldn't wish my problems on my worse enemy.
Posted by Texas
I began using Accutane in 1994, and continued to use it for 6 months, then another 6-month treatment for severe acne (I was approximately 15 years old). Since then, I became severely depressed with suicidal tendencies and also broke out with psoriasis, which is not known to run in my family. I was never depressed before taking Accutane, and am wondering if this may have caused my condition.
Posted by California
Accutane was used for complexion and caused pseudotumor cerebri within 2 weeks. Was reported to Accutane. My daughter has had 2 shunts now, and had surgery again 4/24/13 to replace tube to shunt that fractured in 3 places. She has had this since 2002!
Posted by Oklahoma
Accutane was used as an acne medication for several months for her acne and she is now forced to take acetazolamide to relieve the pressure from behind her eyes to keep her from going blind.
Posted by Manitoba
Muscle twitching, pain and atrophy on left side of body, weakness, tremors. Used Accutane to treat acne 4 cycles. I shouldn't have done this...searching the internet i think i might have ALS. Very very scared.
Posted by Texas
I have IBS/IBD that is at times severe. For months I was homebound and had severe intestinal cramping, this started about 18 months ago. Every trip out of the house had to be planned around available bathrooms etc. I currently live abroad and can document a couple of years worth of treatment, which is ongoing. My Dr. is a US trained gastro-interologist.
Posted by Alabama
I took Accutane as teenager and I have been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease and IBS by the VA along with tons of other medical problems. I can't work and that is severely frustrating to me. I have had my gall bladder removed, kidney stones and lots of other things. My IBS is steadily getting worse and I can hardly eat anything at all now.
Posted by Alberta
I took accutane for about one year in 1985 to 1986. I developed a severe case of crohns disease in 1989, I spent 22 days in hospital, lost 50 pounds, had blood transfussions, lost work, expensive medications, continual annual colonoscopies for the rest of my life due to the initial damage. Have been refused life insurance, disability insurance and private extended health benefits all due to the crohns. I can not protect my family from financial disaster if I get sick with crohns or anything else.
Posted by Ohio
I took accutane for 2 years in high school, over a course of 3 doses of 6 months each. I had onset of IBS 1 year after my last course of accutane and nobody every mentioned the IBS could of been caused by the accutane. I have acid reflux, but it calmed down after puberty and I never needed anything (including my RX meds for it) to fight off the symptoms. I am in deep debt still from my IBS related doctor visits and ER visits and ended up paying over 2,000 at least so far for operations and tests and medicines relating to the IBS.
Posted by Connecticut
He was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer at 15 and Crohn's at 17. To date he has had severe Crohn's Disease, several hospitalizations and 1 surgery with intestinal removal.
Accutane was used for acne when he was 14 and 15.
Damages are Crohn's which he has had for 6 years. He is 23 now.
Posted by North Carolina
I had lost 130 lbs before taking the medicine and then developed bowel problems and all the weight came back while on the medicine. About one year after the medicine it got extremely worse. I started going to multiple doctors and still continue to go to them. I was finally diagnosed last year with an IBD. I had no problem issues before the medicine, and I can get the documentation for that. I have documentation of all the doctors, all the medicines I am currently taking (about 8), and much more. I have been through over two years of pain and suffering from this medicine.
Posted by Oregon
Unique scarring caused by irritation from the medicine, as well as bi polar development and depression. Have attempted suicide twice.
Posted by New York
My doctor has recently described my intestines as that of a 70 year old's. On a daily basis, I struggle with severe pain in my bowels and intestines and have been treated in the ER twice for extreme pain and infection of the intestines. i never suffered any of these symptoms before taking Accutane. I have since been diagnosed with IBS, Diverticulitis, and & Colitis and will have to continue periodic colonoscopies for the rest of my life. I am now only 29 years old, an age much younger than the norm for this.