Information specific to: Isotretinoin 20mg capsules when used in Acne.
Isotretinoin (eye-soh-tret-in-oh-in) is a medicine which is used in treating acne.
The information in this Medicine Guide for isotretinoin varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.
Isotretinoin is used to treat acne. Isotretinoin works by suppressing the activity of sebaceous glands in the skin. It reduces the amount of oil produced by these glands. Isotretinoin also reduces the size of the sebaceous glands and the inflammation that occurs with acne. Isotretinoin is given to people when their previous treatments for acne have not been successful.
Isotretinoin may make the skin all over your body more fragile or sensitive. Your skin may be more easily damaged during treatment with Isotretinoin and for some time after treatment has stopped. You should not wax your skin while you are taking Isotretinoin and for at least six months after you have stopped taking it. Some types of dermabrasion or laser treatments should also be avoided while you are taking Isotretinoin and for five to six months after stopping treatment. You should also be careful about using preparations on your skin while you are taking Isotretinoin. Your skin may become irritated if you use certain skin preparations such as preparations that treat acne while you are taking Isotretinoin. For more information about skin preparations to avoid during treatment with Isotretinoin talk to your prescriber or read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine.
Isotretinoin can cause your skin to become more sensitive to all forms of UV light. While you are taking Isotretinoin, you should try to avoid exposing your skin to intense sunlight or UV light. If you need to go out in the sun use a high protection sun screen. You should use a sun screen that has a minimum sun protection factor of 15. You should also avoid using tanning beds or lamps while you are taking Isotretinoin.
Isotretinoin may harm a baby if it is taken during pregnancy. It may also increase the chances of having a miscarriage. Women must not become pregnant while they are taking Isotretinoin. For this reason women who could become pregnant are only prescribed Isotretinoin if they are very careful about using contraception to prevent pregnancy. Women who are being treated with Isotretinoin and who do not have a menstrual period or who are not currently sexually active must also use contraception.
If you are a woman and you are taking Isotretinoin, you must not become pregnant during treatment and for at least one month after stopping treatment with Isotretinoin. You must use one form, or preferably two forms, of effective contraception one month before you begin treatment with Isotretinoin. You must continue to use this contraception while you are taking Isotretinoin and for at least a month after you have stopped taking Isotretinoin. During this time, if you become pregnant, or think you have become pregnant, you must immediately contact your prescriber. For more information about using contraception and what types of contraception should be used while taking Isotretinoin talk to your prescriber or read the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.
Treatment with Isotretinoin can only be started in a woman once the prescriber is certain that the woman is not pregnant. Women will need to have a pregnancy test before, during and five weeks after stopping treatment with Isotretinoin. For more information about pregnancy tests during treatment with Isotretinoin, talk to your prescriber.
It is very important that you do not share your medicine with other people as it may not be suitable for them and could cause them harm. It is also important that you do not give blood while you are taking Isotretinoin and for one month after you have stopped taking it. Isotretinoin may be in your blood and if your blood is given to a pregnant woman during a blood transfusion Isotretinoin may harm the baby.
Other information about Isotretinoin:
- your prescriber may vary the dose of your medicine to find what is best for you
- you may need to take Isotretinoin for several weeks before you can expect to see any benefits from taking this medicine. Treatment with Isotretinoin is stopped once the acne has resolved but it may be started again if the acne returns. For more information about when you would expect to see the benefits of taking Isotretinoin and how long your treatment will last for, talk to your prescriber
Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.
The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should take. It also tells you how often you should take your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should take. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.
If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.
Whether this medicine is suitable for you
Isotretinoin is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.
Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:
- are a woman who could become pregnant
- are allergic or sensitive to or have had a reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine
- are an alcoholic
- are breast-feeding
- are doing intensive physical activity or exercise
- are obese
- are pregnant
- have asthma
- have diabetes
- have hyperlipidaemia
- have kidney problems
- have liver problems
- have metabolic problems
- have or have had depression
- have or have had thoughts of committing suicide
- have vitamin A poisoning
- wear contact lenses
Furthermore the prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all for a child who is under 12 years of age.
As part of the process of assessing suitability to take this medicine a prescriber may also arrange tests:
- to determine whether or not the medicine is suitable and whether it must be prescribed with extra care
- to check that this medicine is not having any undesired effects
Over time it is possible that Isotretinoin can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Isotretinoin has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.
Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.
You must not drink any alcohol if you are taking this medicine.
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.
In the case of Isotretinoin:
- there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when taking Isotretinoin
Driving and operating machinery
When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.
In the case of Isotretinoin:
- this medicine may cause effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, eyesight problems or reduced night vision which could affect your ability to drive or operate machinery
You should see how this medicine affects you before you judge whether you are safe to drive or operate machinery. If you are in any doubt about whether you should drive or operate machinery, talk to your prescriber.
Family planning and pregnancy
Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.
In the case of Isotretinoin:
- Isotretinoin is a medicine which has implications for pregnancy as it may harm a baby. You must not become pregnant while you are taking it, and for at least one month after you stop taking this medicine
- if you could become pregnant, you must use one form or preferably two forms of effective contraception including a barrier method, for one month before starting Isotretinoin, during treatment with Isotretinoin and for at least one month after stopping treatment. During this time, if you become pregnant, or think you have become pregnant, you must immediately contact your prescriber
- your prescriber will only start your treatment with Isotretinoin once they are certain that you are not pregnant. You will need to have pregnancy tests before starting treatment with Isotretinoin, during treatment and five weeks after your treatment with Isotretinoin has stopped. For more information talk to your prescriber
This medicine is not suitable during pregnancy. It is very important that you seek urgent medical advice if you become pregnant or think you have become pregnant while taking this medicine.
If you are planning to become pregnant, you should discuss your personal circumstances with your doctor so that together you can make a decision about what treatment you may need during your pregnancy.
Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.
In the case of Isotretinoin:
- this medicine may pass into breast milk. Taking Isotretinoin and breast-feeding may affect your baby
Women who are taking Isotretinoin must not breast-feed. If you wish to breast-feed you should discuss with your prescriber whether there are any other medicines you could have. You should not stop this medicine without taking advice from your doctor.
Taking other medicines
If you are taking more than one medicine they may interact with each other. At times your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, in other cases this may not be appropriate.
The decision to use medicines that interact depends on your specific circumstances. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, if it is believed that the benefits of taking the medicines together outweigh the risks. In such cases, it may be necessary to alter your dose or monitor you more closely.
Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.
The following medicines may interact with Isotretinoin:
The following types of medicine may interact with Isotretinoin:
If you are taking Isotretinoin and one of the above medicines or types of medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.
Complementary preparations and vitamins
Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins.
Make sure you tell your prescriber the names of all the complementary preparations and vitamins that you are taking or are planning to take.
Your prescriber can then decide whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact.
In the case of Isotretinoin:
- this medicine may interact with vitamin A
If you have been prescribed Isotretinoin you should only take something on the above list on the specific advice of your prescriber or pharmacist.