3- Accutane, oral retinoic acids “a miracle treatment” for acne

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


Isotretinoin: is the generic name of 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

Above are amazing before and after photos of our actual patient treated with Accutane (Isotretinoin).  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!

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 extensive acne patients that failed all the other treatment options that have been tried with a sufficient dosage of medication, in a proper combination therapy, and for the correct duration of treatment.

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

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

What is Accutane or Absorica/ Isotretinoin?

Accutane is a “big gun” in acne therapy. Isotretinoin (generic name of Accutane), new trade name, 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.

How effective is “Accutane”?

Isotretinoin is extremely effective to treat 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%.

Is Accutane the first choice for very bad acne?

No, some of the 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 that desires 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. This program was developed by the FDA to reduce the chance of pregnancy and exposure of fetuses to Accutane because even one single dosage of this drug can harm an unborn fetus. Due to all this extra complicated work, some dermatologists have decided not to prescribe Accutane. For more information about this matter, please see the iPLEDGE website.

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.

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. I will review a few of the most common side effects and a few of serious unwanted effects as well:

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 and an increase in blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels is possible but not common.

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 patient 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.

Contact Us!

If you are suffering from acne, feel free to call us to make an appointment to see Dr. Shafa. During your appointment, Dr. Shafa will evaluate your skin as well as overall health. After the type and cause of acne is diagnosed, Dr. Shafa will explain the variety of treatment options best suited to your needs and help select the best regimen for you and your skin. If you have questions prior to your visit, please do not hesitate to ask here.