Accutane or Isotretinoin

An oral retinoic acid “a miracle treatment” for acne

Our dermatologist in Irvine Orange County, Dr. Parvin Shafa is an expert in treating Acne with “Accutane”, if needed. Visit us to learn more about “Accutane”, a big gun in acne treatment, and your other treatment options for acne.

What is Accutane or Absorica/ Isotretinoin?

Accutane is a “big gun” in acne therapy. Isotretinoin/Absorica is a powerful synthetic drug derived from Vitamin A. “Accutane” is administered in an oral pill form and has a strong drying effect on oil glands.

  • Isotretinoin

    Isotretinoin is the generic name of Accutane

  • Accutane

    Accutane is no longer available. Roche stopped making Accutane in 2009 after selling the drug to 13 million patients since 1982.

  • Current available brand names of Isotretinoin are

    Absorica, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan, Sotrel, Zenatane

How effective is “Accutane”?

Isotretinoin is extremely effective for treating acne. Although acne may worsen within the first few weeks of Accutane therapy, the ultimate result is amazing, with a 95% success rate at our practice. The best result is achieved after a cumulative dosage of 100 to 120 mg per kg body weight is taken, usually within 4 to 6 months. Its relapse rate is 25%


Above are amazing before and after photos of one of our actual patient who was treated with Accutane (Isotretinoin). It is a miracle acne treatment, a lifesaver, and a very effective treatment for stubborn or severe acne. This is one of Dr. Shafa’s areas of expertise and passion since she believes it changes lives!


The above patient of ours was treated with Accutane (Absorica).

Visit our gallery to see more before and after pictures.

Who is a candidate for “Accutane” treatment?

Dr. Parvin Shafa will consider Isotretinoin treatment for moderate or severe acne with the following criteria:

  • Severe nodular, cystic, painful acne

    Severe nodular, cystic, painful acne: Many of our patients with severe acne actually respond to ordinary acne treatment with the right medication, sufficient duration, and correct combination of medication, which must be individualized for particular cases. If a patient with severe, stubborn acne fails all the other alternative acne treatments, “Accutane” is recommended as a last resort.

  • Moderate acne

    Moderate acne that is persistent, leaving physical and/or psychological scarring, and is unresponsive to alternative acne treatments. You would not want to treat moderate acne with Accutane if other options would be just as effective.

  • Mild Acne

    Mild Acne patients should not be treated with Isotretinoin. You would not want to kill an insect with a gun.

Is Accutane the first choice for very bad acne?

No – some severe cases of acne will still respond to more gentle treatments if alternative treatments have never been tried. Dr. Shafa will consult with you regarding your options.

What is iPLEDGE for Accutane treatment?

iPLEDGE is a computer-based program for patients and healthcare providers that ensures that all female patients understand that they should not be pregnant or become pregnant while they are on Accutane or similar Retinoids. Every single physician desiring to prescribe Accutane and pharmacists dispensing Accutane must be registered with iPLEDGE. All patients, regardless of gender, must also enroll in the iPLEDGE program before physicians can give them a prescription for Accutane.

The prior requirement to be eligible for Isotretinoin treatment.

  • After a patient has studied and understands all the risks and benefits of the medication, including knowing the devastating side effects the drug can have on a fetus.
  • If female patients are willing to use double contraceptive protection.
  • Patients must register on iPLEDGE and sign a consent form.
  • Patients must remain in contact with the physician regarding any concerns or unexpected and unwanted side effects.

This program was developed by the FDA to reduce the chance of pregnancy and exposing fetuses to Accutane. ven one single dosage of this drug can harm an unborn fetus. Because of this extra, complicated work, some dermatologists have decided not to prescribe Accutane. For more information about this matter, please see the iPLEDGE website.

What are the side effects?

The result of Accutane treatment on severe acne is dramatic. However, the side effects can range from mild and reversible to life-threatening in rare cases. For more extensive information, please search online about the side effects of Accutane. The most common side effects and a few serious unwanted effects are listed below:

  • The most common side effects of Accutane

    The most common side effects of Accutane include dry skin, dry mucous membrane (mouth and nose), and cracks in the corners of the mouth (cheilitis). Joint pain and an increase in blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels are possible but not common.

  • Serious side effects of Accutane

    Serious side effects of Accutane include danger for an unborn fetus. Accutane must NEVER be taken while a patient is pregnant or at risk of becoming pregnant, therefore double contraceptive is required for female patients on Accutane. Remember that Accutane kills rapidly dividing cells and therefore affects the fetus severely for the same reason. Mothers that are breastfeeding must also avoid Accutane.


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Acne Surgery | Acne Home TherapyTopical Treatment for Acne | Acne Scar Overview | Acne Scar Correction with TCA | Acne Scar Leveling with Plasma Laser and Steroid Injection | Fractional CO2 Laser for Acne Scar | Subcision for Acne Scars Removal | Scar Excision – A Good Choice for Deeper Scars | Acne Before and After

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