Isotretinoin for Acne
Severe acne, especially when cystic or nodular, can be difficult to treat and resistant to popular topical and oral medications. When other treatment methods fail to show significant improvements, your dermatologist may recommend isotretinoin, a prescription medication used to treat stubborn acne.
Isotretinoin can offer prolonged and sometimes permanent clearance of acne. If this form of treatment is an option for you, you and your dermatologist should thoroughly discuss your symptoms, how to take this medicine safely, and potential side effects.
What is Isotretinoin?
Isotretinoin is an oral medication only available by prescription. It’s the only treatment that attacks the four main causes of acne at once: excess oil production, excess bacteria P. acnes, clogged pores, and inflammation. To put this in context, it’s important to understand what causes acne.
What Causes Acne and How Does Isotretinoin Work to Fight It?
Sebum is an oil that your body generates to moisturize the hair and skin. When your body produces excess sebum from the sebaceous glands, skin cells can become trapped in your pores. Clogged pores can then fill with the bacteria that lives on our skin (P. acnes.), causing pores to become inflamed.
By reducing sebum production, slowing down skin cell growth inside of pores, fighting acne-causing bacteria, and reducing inflammation, isotretinoin can effectively treat stubborn acne.
Taking Isotretinoin Safely
Because of the side effects of isotretinoin, there are a number of safety precautions that will need to be taken throughout your treatment. The precautions may vary greatly from what you are used to with your current treatment method. Unlike some of the more common and popular medications used to treat acne, isotretinoin will require:
- Monthly visits to your dermatologist
- Enrollment in the iPledge™ program
- Monthly blood work to monitor blood count, fasting lipids, and liver function
- Use of 2 forms of birth control and required pregnancy tests (females only)
In addition to taking these precautions, you will also want to avoid:
- Waxing for hair removal during and for up to 6 months after your last dose
- Sun exposure without adequate sun protection, prolonged sun exposure, and tanning beds
- Donating blood during treatment and for 30 days after your last dose
Prior to beginning treatment, your dermatologist will walk you through these precautions and help answer any questions you may have.
Call MOD Dermatology for Acne Treatment in Omaha
If you have any questions about Isotretinoin or other forms of acne treatment, call MOD Dermatology today. We would love to help you find a treatment option that works for you and your lifestyle.