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Isotretinoin: Benefits and risks

This medicine treats many patients safely and effectively. However, it is not right for everyone. You should discuss the benefits and risks with your dermatologist.

When you talk with your dermatologist about isotretinoin, be sure to tell your dermatologist if you have any of the following:

  • Disease that affects your immune system, such as HIV, AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriasis, or graft vs. host disease

  • Allergies

  • Plans to become pregnant, or are pregnant or breastfeeding

    “Isotretinoin offers our patients who have severe acne significant, life-changing benefits. Providing this medicine safely is our top priority.”

    ─ Dermatologist William D. James, MD, FAAD

You also should tell your dermatologist if you take:

  • Any medicine (include ones you buy without a prescription, such as aspirin)

  • Vitamins

  • Minerals

  • Herbal supplements 

  • Any other acne treatment, including antibiotics

Be sure to tell your dermatologist about all acne treatments that you have used in the past and the results from each.

Talk with your dermatologist about concerns

If you have any concerns about taking isotretinoin, you should tell your dermatologist. Dermatologists have been prescribing this medicine for years. In fact, dermatologists led many of the clinical trials for isotretinoin. This makes dermatologists very familiar with the medicine and knowledgeable about whom it can help.

Dermatologists continue to lead research studies that look at how isotretinoin can help improve the lives of their patients.

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Last updated: 9/12/23