Updated July 26, 2013.

An oral medication used to treat severe cystic acne or nodulocystic acne (inflamed acne with many nodules and cysts). Isotretinoin is more commonly known by the brand name Accutane, and is also sold under the names Amnesteem, Claravis and Sotret.

A derivative of vitamin A, isotretinoin works by shrinking sebaceous glands. This reduces the number of pore blockages and breakouts.

Isotretinoin has many side effects, including but not limited to:

  • Drying of the skin and mucous membranes
  • Peeling of the skin
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Increased risk of depression, psychosis, suicidal behavior, and suicide

Isotretinoin also causes severe birth defects when taken during pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires all women of childbearing potential to use two forms of birth control during isotretinoin use. Women must also submit to regular pregnancy tests before obtaining or refilling their prescription.

Learn More About Isotretinoin:

Treating Acne with Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin Side Effects

Isotretinoin and the iPledge Program

Also Known As: Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Sotret