Accutane is the brand name for the drug Isotretinoin, manufactured by Hoffman-LaRoche to treat severe acne. Accutane is a vitamin A derivative taken orally as a treatment for nodular and cystic acne that is resistant to other less intense topical or oral acne medications. The acne treatment, which is usually given for several months, reduces the sebaceous glands thus decreasing the production of sebum, an oily substance that prevents the skin from becoming dry.
Accutane & the Risk of Birth Defects
The most serious Accutane side-effect is the risk of serious birth defects. The FDA has taken several steps to inform the public of the potentially deadly birth defects associated with the drug. A 2005 FDA Alert detailed a strengthened risk management plan called iPledge to help prevent females from taking Accutane during pregnancy.
Some birth defects associated with Accutane include:
- Mental Retardation
- Heart Defects
- Microcephaly (decreased size of the head and brain)
- Hydrocephaly (enlargement of fluid filled spaces in the brain)
- Facial Abnormalities
Depression as a Result of Accutane
In addition to more common and minor side effects such as chapped lips, joint or muscle pain, and dry skin, cases of severe depression has been associated with Accutane.
In some cases Accutane has been attributed to severe mental depression and even suicide. Close attention should be paid to patients of the drug and symptoms of depression should be addressed immediately, possibly with the discontinuation of treatment.
Pharmaceutical Litigation Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen have extensive experience in cases involving injury or wrongful death associated with prescription drugs. Contact us to set an appointment with an attorney to discuss your case.