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Acne Medication Accutane (Roaccutane / Isotretinoin) and Suicide

Acne Medication Accutane (Roaccutane / Isotretinoin) and Suicide

by Kevin Caruso

Accutane (also known as Rocaccutane or Isotretinoin) is a prescription acne medication derived from vitamin A and is used to treat nodular acne (a severe form of acne). It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982 and is distributed by Roche Pharmaceuticals.

It works by preventing acne from developing, as opposed to most other treatments (such as retin A and antibiotics) that attempt to control acne after it has developed.

Accutane is typically only used when all other treatments have failed.

So if Accutane can actually prevent acne from developing, why would anyone hesitate to take it?

Answer: Possible side effects, including depression, suicidal thoughts, birth defects, intense headaches, dry skin, cracking lips, dry eyes, nose bleeds, stomach aches, muscle pain, joint pain, and increased sun sensitivity.

Before Accuatane was approved by the FDA, testing indicated that it could cause fetal abnormalities in animals, so from the launch of the drug, Roche issued warnings that pregnant women should not take Accutane.

But warnings for many of the other side effects, including depression and suicidal thoughts, were not issued. And many people who took the drug complained of depression, suicidal thoughts, muscle pain, joint pain, and other side effects. And, unfortunately, some died by suicide.

And many of the parents of teenagers who died by suicide have strongly denounced Roche for not offering stronger warnings.

In the U.S., the FDA has forced Roche to add warnings that accompany the packaging of the drug.

This is the FDA's medication guide for Accutane:


Possible serious side effects of taking Accutane include birth defects and mental disorders.

1. Birth defects. Accutane can cause birth defects (deformed babies) if taken by a pregnant woman. It can also cause miscarriage (losing the baby before birth), premature (early) birth, or death of the baby. Do not take Accutane if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while you are taking Accutane. Do not get pregnant for 1 month after you stop taking Accutane. Also, if you get pregnant while taking Accutane, stop taking it right away and call your prescriber.

2. Mental problems and suicide. Some patients, while taking Accutane or soon after stopping Accutane, have become depressed or developed other serious mental problems. Symptoms of these problems include sad, "anxious" or empty mood, irritability, anger, loss of pleasure or interest in social or sports activities, sleeping too much or too little, changes in weight or appetite, school or work performance going down, or trouble concentrating. Some patients taking Accutane have had thoughts about hurting themselves or putting an end to their own lives (suicidal thoughts). Some people tried to end their own lives. And some people have ended their own lives. There were reports that some of these people did not appear depressed. No one knows if Accutane caused these behaviors or if they would have happened even if the person did not take Accutane.

(source: FDA)


In many other countries, however, no such warnings exist.

Clearly, whatever country you are from, you should only consider taking Accutane if you have extremely bad acne and have exhausted ALL other treatment options.

And if you decide to take Accutane, please conduct extensive research and be prepared for all possible side effects, including depression and suicidal thoughts.


Please click below to visit the suicide memorial of an angel who died by suicide after taking Accutane:

Vivial Crane Memorial

If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.

Thank you.

I love you.

Take care,

Kevin Caruso

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