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Dangers of Accutane

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What is Accutane?

Accutane is a prescription medication used to treat a type of severe acne (nodular acne) that has not been helped by other treatments, including antibiotics. 

What are the Common Side Effects of Accutane?

The common less serious side effects of taking Accutane include:

  • dry skin
  • chapped lips
  • dry eyes
  • dry nose that may lead to nosebleeds

What are the Serious Side Effects of Accutane?

There are many possible serious 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 problems
  • bone and muscle problems
  • hearing problems
  • vision problems
  • lipid (fats and cholesterol in blood) problems
  • allergic reactions
  • trouble breathing
  • fainting
  • constant thirstiness and frequent urination which indicate blood sugar problems
  • feeling of weakness
  • leg swelling
  • convulsions
  • slurred speech
  • problems 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 serious 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 doctor 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 body weight
  • have trouble concentrating
  • 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 will die if you take Accutane while you are 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 breast feed
  • 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
  • do not use birth control pills that do not contain estrogen

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Been Taking Accutane?

If you believe you have been injured by Accutane side effects you should speak with a good products liability attorney who is experienced in working with victims of unsafe drugs.  Your legal rights depend upon your contacting an attorney within a timely manner after the discovery that you are suffering from Accutane side effects.  You may be able to bring suit with the aid of an attorney, or sue with a group of other victims as part of a class action lawsuit.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 08-06-2012 04:29 PM PDT

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