Accutane is the trade name used by Roche Pharmeceuticals for their formulation of the generic drug isotretinoin. Accutane is used to treat moderate to severe acne. Accutane was introduced in the early 1980s and was immediately hailed as a "miracle cure" for acne problems. However, serious side effects soon appeared, and Roche finally pulled the drug from the market in 2009. Accutane side effects include severe birth defects, suicidal tendencies, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Accutane was first created to treat brain and pancreatic cancer. However, it was soon found that Accutane was very effective in treating stubborn acne that had been resistant to other forms of treatment. Accutane has been especially effective in treating potentially lethal skin disease such as ichthyosis and in curing certain forms of acne that were not responsive to other drugs.
However, the side effects of Accutane have been serious enough to force Roche to issue a general recall of all forms of the drug, although some is still available in Europe to be used under very controlled conditions managed by a dermatological specialist. Many people have used Accutane and its generic forms only to discover that they developed medical problems much worse than the acne the drug was prescribed to treat.
One of the most common side effects of Accutane use, prevalent in up to ten percent of those who took the drug, is anemia. Anemia is a medical condition that affects the red blood cells and can cause serious health problems. Accutane has also been blamed for a high incidence of both thrombocytopenia, or low platelet count, and thrombocytosis, or high platelet count. Either of these diseases affects the blood’s ability to clot, and can cause life-threatening problems for patients.
Another very common side effect of Accutane use is eye problems. Up to ten percent of users report dry eye, conjunctivitis or "pink eye," and eye irritation. A large number of patients also experience skin problems such as dermatitis, dry skin, itching, and skin fragility. Accutane has also been linked to an increase of trigylcerides and a lowering of HDL or "good" cholesterol, as well as back pain.
Less common side effects include increased blood glucose and blood cholesterol, nasal dryness and infection, headache, and a decrease in white blood cells. At least one percent of users report these problems. Even more rare are bacterial infections, diabetes, suicidal behavior and depression, convulsions, color blindness, impaired hearing, lung spasms, nausea, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, hepatitis, and serious skin problems. These affect about .1 percent of users.
The most serious side effects of Accutane use can be life-changing and life-threatening. Birth defects are observed in a high number of pregnant women using Accutane, and the drug can also stop bone growth in teenagers.
If you have suffered from the use of Accutane, contact a personal injury attorney immediately to discuss your case. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other costs of treatment. However, your time to file a claim is limited, so do not wait; talk to a professional personal injury lawyer immediately.