In fact, Accutane is still available in other countries. Accutane continues to be available in Canada (where there is also many an Accutane lawsuit). And Accutane also remains available in the UK, marketed as Roaccutane.
The father of the late Jon Medland, a promising young medical student who committed suicide, thinks Roaccutane should be pulled from the market in the UK as well. In fact, Jonathan Medland told The Daily Mail (1/31/13) online that, in his view, Roaccutane should be banned altogether.
Along with Accutane inflammatory bowel disease, isotretinoin (Accutane/Roaccutane) has also been linked to suicide. Jon Medland had been taking Roaccutane for acne when he began to experience a troubled state of mind - a problem that continued even after Roaccutane was stopped. The 22-year-old hanged himself in January 2004 in his student residence, just months away from graduating from Manchester University Medical School.
He had used Roaccutane for just 3.5 weeks.
There have been other suicides in the UK allegedly associated with the British form of Accutane. Mail One reports that Melissa Martin-Hughes, 18, took her own life in April 2010. Martin-Hughes had been prescribed Roaccutane.
Two years before that, in 2008, Angela Lee committed suicide by stepping in front of a train in East London. The 28-year-old left behind a suicide note identifying Roaccutane as making her feel “prematurely aged.” Lee lamented in her note that “there was no way out.”
Isotretinoin has been more commonly associated with Accutane Crohns Disease, a debilitating condition that causes much pain and discomfort, and often impairs an individual’s capacity to function. To that end, Accutane IBD is the most common basis for an Accutane lawsuit.
However, depression remains a possibility with a medication that was initially developed for a different purpose. Isotretinoin, the generic name for Accutane acne medication, was a chemotherapy drug before its capacity to reduce production of sebum - the facial oils that tend to run rampant in adolescents and young adults and clogs pores, thereby fostering acne - was seen as an opportunity to create a new indication for isotretinoin.
The Daily Mail cited figures released by the World Health Organization that suggested isotretinoin had been implicated in 720 reports of psychiatric problems, including over 100 suicides or attempted suicides globally.
A documentary on Accutane effects broadcast last month on the BBC related the story of Jesse Jones, a promising musician who took his own life in February 2011, at the age of 24.
He left a note.
“Dear Mum and Dad, Roaccutane seems to have changed the way my mind and body works in a big way. I can barely bring myself to type its name because I hate it so much.
“Anything to do with the opposite sex isn’t psychologically appealing. I used to have to try to stop myself from thinking about girls all of the time; now, I could hardly care less.”
His body was found at the foot of a cliff near his home.
In the documentary, made and released by his filmmaker father, it was revealed that Jesse had been prescribed Roaccutane for problematic, cystic acne at the age of 18. He used it without problems for six months. In 2009, when his acne returned, Jesse was again prescribed Roaccutane. On this occasion, Jess began to experience joint pain in his fingers, limiting his capacity to play guitar and drums. He stopped taking Roaccutane after three months.
His father, Derek, said his son continued to suffer Accutane effects (Roaccutane in the UK) more than a year after coming off the drug. “In my research since, I’ve discovered people are still having adverse effects years after coming off it,” Derek Jones told The Daily Mail.
While Roche admits there is a small association with depression and includes that possibility on the enclosed medication guide, Derek Jones wants a warning on the packaging. “One expert I spoke to, who prescribes Roaccutane, believes the number of people it is likely to affect is very small, but that is like playing Russian roulette with people’s lives,” he says.
“This drug could drive your child to suicide. That risk is too high a price to pay for clear skin.”
As for US and Canadian residents, Accutane medication has triggered so much physical suffering they hadn’t bargained for, that thousands have filed an Accutane ulcerative colitis lawsuit.
READ MORE ACCUTANE IBD LEGAL NEWS
In other Accutane news, the defendant in thousands of Accutane lawsuits filed a motion at the end of last year asking Judge Carol E. Higbee of the Atlantic County Superior Court to recuse herself from New Jersey’s multi-county Accutane litigation. Hoffman-La Roche Inc. accused Higbee of bias, citing her appearance at a defense legal conference with a plaintiff attorney from the Accutane MDL litigation. According to Litigation Blog (2/14/13), Higbee dismissed the allegation and denied the motion filed December 11, 2012.