Accutane is a prescription medication used to treat severe acne (nodular acne) that other treatments, including antibiotics, have not helped.
What Are the Common Side Effects of Accutane?
The common, less serious side effects of taking Accutane include:
- Dry skin
- Chapped lips
- Dry eyes
- A dry nose that may lead to nosebleeds
What Are the Serious Side Effects of Accutane?
There are many possible severe side effects of taking Accutane, including:
- Birth defects, premature births, and death in babies whose mothers took Accutane while pregnant
- Serious mental health problems
- Serious brain problems
- Abdomen pains
- Bone and muscle problems
- Hearing difficulties
- Vision issues
- Lipid (fats and cholesterol in blood) issues
- Allergic reactions
- Trouble breathing
- Constant thirstiness and frequent urination, which indicate blood sugar problems
- Feeling of weakness
- Leg swelling
- Slurred speech
- Difficulties moving
How Can Accutane Affect Me Mentally?
Some patients, either while using Accutane or soon after stopping their use of Accutane, have become depressed or developed other severe mental health problems. Some patients taking Accutane have had suicidal thoughts, some have attempted suicide, and some have taken their own lives.
What Are the Signs of Mental Problems?
You should stop taking Accutane and talk to your physician immediately if you:
- Start to feel sad or have crying spells
- Lose interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Sleep too much or have trouble sleeping
- Become more irritable than usual
- Have a change in your appetite or bodyweight
- Have trouble focusing
- Withdraw from your friends and family
- Feel like you have no energy
- Have feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- Start having suicidal thoughts
What Are the Special Warnings for Women Who Use Accutane?
You must not become pregnant while taking Accutane or for one month after you stop taking Accutane. Accutane can cause severe birth defects in the babies of women who take it while they are pregnant, even if the drug was taken for a short time. There is an extremely high risk that your baby will be deformed or die if you take Accutane while pregnant. Taking Accutane also increases the chance of miscarriage and premature births.
What Should I Avoid While Taking Accutane?
There are many actions you should not take while using Accutane. Examples include:
- Do not become pregnant
- Do not breastfeed
- Do not give blood
- Do not take Vitamin A supplements
- Do not have cosmetic procedures to smooth your skin, including waxing and dermabrasion
- Avoid sunlight and ultraviolet lights
What Should I Do If I Feel That the Accutane Has Had Bad Effects on My Health?
If you feel that Accutane or any other drug you may be taking is harming your health, you should discuss the issue with the physician who prescribes the medication. If you do not get answers that seem satisfactory from your doctor, you should consult another doctor also.
Suppose you believe that you have already experienced adverse effects on your health from taking Accutane or other prescription medication. In that case, you could consult with an unsafe drugs attorney, who would be a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice or product liability lawsuits.
A malpractice or products liability attorney will analyze the facts of your case to determine whether any adverse effects on your health result from an error on the part of the physician or other health care provider in prescribing the medication. Or, the attorney may determine that the medication itself is defective and the fault lies with the pharmaceutical company that made the medication.
You can also report adverse drug reactions to the MedWatch program of the FDA. The MedWatch program exists to receive reports of severe reactions, product quality issues, therapeutic failure, and product use errors with medical products for people. The types of products that can be reported include drugs, biologic products, medical devices, dietary supplements, infant formula, and cosmetics.
If a doctor prescribes the medication you wish to report, you can ask your physician to help with the report. Nevertheless, if you do not wish to involve your doctor, you can fill out the form yourself. Or, you might wish to consult an attorney about making a report to the MedWatch program. The FDA acknowledges receipt of these reports.
It is essential to keep in mind that reporting adverse experiences with medications to the MedWatch program may help improve the regulation of medications by the FDA. Nevertheless, it is not a way to get damages for any injury that the medication may have caused you. That requires a lawsuit.
Should I Join a Class Action Lawsuit or Sue the Manufacturer on My Own?
There are pluses and minuses to both class actions and suing a pharmaceutical manufacturer on one’s own. A person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit is called the “plaintiff,” and the person or entity who is sued is the “defendant. Some of the positives to consider when trying to choose between the two options are as follows:
- Plaintiffs are stronger as members of a large class of claimants:
- Plaintiffs are in a stronger negotiating position and are more likely to be able to settle before trial, which reduces the expenses and avoids the uncertainty of a trial;
- When a plaintiff joins with others, it lowers the cost of the lawsuit for each of them; cases involving medical malpractice or pharmaceuticals can be costly because they might involve many experts;
- As with most personal injury claims, plaintiffs only pay the attorney fees if they win money, in which case it comes from their award;
- Class action plaintiffs have a longer period in which to file a lawsuit;
- If your claim is for a relatively small amount, it is probably not worth the cost and aggravation to prosecute a lawsuit; also, most lawyers are not interested in small-value cases. A plaintiff is better off aggregating their claim with those of others;
- There may be a considerable disparity between what the various claimants recover if each proceeds on an individual basis;
- Less strain on the court system;
Among the negatives of class action lawsuits are the following:
- Compensation for an individual plaintiff in a class action is usually limited to economic damages and rebates;
- If you want to recover a substantial amount of money damages for your pain and suffering or other non-economic damages, a class action may not be the best option;
- The individual plaintiff has no say in the decisions made during the legal process;
- If you want more control and personal involvement, an individual action may be a better choice;
- If you join a class action, you give up your right to make an individual claim;
- If the class action does not succeed or if you believe that your award, in the end, is unsatisfactory, you will not be able to pursue an individual action later on.
Do I Need a Lawyer If I Have Been Taking Accutane?
If you believe Accutane’s side effects have injured you, you should speak with a good products liability attorney experienced in working with victims of unsafe drugs. Your legal rights depend upon contacting a class action attorney within a timely manner after discovering that you are suffering from Accutane’s side effects. You may be able to bring suit with the aid of a lawyer or sue with a group of other victims as part of a class-action lawsuit.