Isotretinoin Treatment Improves Quality of Life of Cystic Acne Patients

Isotretinoin has long been used to successfully treat cystic acne. However, the relationship between its effectivity and its psychosocial impact to the patient has not yet been fully described. Cystic acne affects people of different age groups and it can lead to low self-esteem, self-consciousness and social awkwardness.

Scientists from the Department of Dermatology, AlcaƱiz Hospital in Spain have conducted a study on 346 patients with moderate cystic acne. The subjects were treated with oral isotretinoin and after 30 weeks, the effects of the treatment on anxiety level, depression and quality of life were determined.

“This study has focused on assessing the effectiveness of oral isotretinoin treatment and its impact on the general health, Quality of Life and psychological functioning of patients with acne”, according to the lead author.

Acne can be caused by a number of factors and though it is prevalent on teenagers, it does not discriminate with regards to age. Acne does not only produce physical blemishes but also emotional scars. Health professionals usually dismiss this as part of the treatment of cystic acne.

Oral isotretinoin is the treatment of choice when the patient’s acne does not respond to oral antibiotics and other usual treatment methods. It has been found that isotretinoin can reduce sebum production of up to 90%.

In the aforementioned study, the authors headed by Servando E. Marron discovered that effective treatment of acne led to reduced anxiety levels, improved quality of life and decreased clinical symptoms. Significant statistical differences were found on the subjects’ quality of life, anxiety, patient satisfaction and depression levels pre- and post-treatment.

The authors suggest that more studies be done to clarify the relationship between isotretinoin treatment and its psychosocial impact on the individual. They add that acne patients should be tested for suicidal and depression tendencies before treatment.

This study only goes to show that proper treatment of acne can help patients overcome the shyness and social isolation they experience with severe acne. Teenagers are most prone to these issues because of peer pressure and the need for social belongingness. Suicidal and depression tendencies are higher in this age group and health professionals should now take into consideration the psychological state of their patients suffering from acne.

There is a warning from the scientists though – that isotretinoin should be handled properly and treatment should be administered in the right doses because it is teratogenic meaning it can interfere with the development of a fetus.

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Does Isotretinoin Work For Acne?

When all else have failed, it’s time to move on to the most popular oral remedy for acne: isotretinoin. In the United Kingdom and in the United States, the original brand name is still the most widely known: Accutane. Yes, the same Accutane that was reported to have caused depression to some people.

Before you quake with fear, let’s examine the product carefully. Then, you can proceed to your doctor and discuss what you think of the product before you get a prescription for it.

The Side Effects of Isotretinoin

There are several key problems when a person engages in long-term use of isotretinoin:

o Increased incidence of suicide and depression in users
o High probability of non-hereditary birth defects in the unborn
o Milder side effects like dry lips are persistent

Now that you are aware of what could happen to you, let’s discuss what isotretinoin is capable of carrying out as an anti-acne agent.

Unlike other modes of treatment, isotretinoin has been known to clear acne in a regular treatment lasting fifteen weeks or twenty weeks.

Because of its popularity as an anti-acne drug, this retinoid is closely monitored in the United States. Dermatologists are of the opinion that if patients follow medical precautions properly, there shouldn’t be any problems. The point? Don’t take more than what’s prescribed!

The Retinoid Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin is a retinoid, which means it has been originated from vitamin A. It’s also closely related to the acid tretinoin. Isotretinoin is available in the following places as an oral anti-acne treatment:

o Canada
o United Kingdom
o Australia
o Europe

Tretinoin is available in the following forms:

o Topical preparation
o Oral preparation

Remember, when you ingest isotretinoin, it becomes a teratogen. Teratogenic substances cause malformations in unborn children. Never take undue risks when pregnant. Consult with your doctor first!

The Isotretinoin Products

If you’re interested in taking isotretinoin for your acne, you may consult with your doctor. The following brands are available worldwide, apart from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States:

o Accutane
o Roaccutane
o Amnesteem
o Claravis
o Sotret
o Roaccutan
o Accure

How Does Isotretinoin Work?

When taken orally for a prescribed period of time, isotretinoin does the following:

o First, it affects the sebum production. Sebum production is slowed down, cutting off the food supply of the harmful anaerobic organisms hiding in the blocked pores of the skin. This makes oral isotretinoin a drying agent.

o Next, isotretinoin regulates and normalizes the keratinization of the skin. When a person has acne, the skin sheds its outer layer far too often.

When this happens, the small pores in the skin become blocked. By fixing the keratinization of the skin, you avoid comedone formation. Comedones are the white heads and black heads you see on your nose.

You may consider using this product for the following reasons:

o If you have severe nodular acne
o If you have inflammatory acne
o If you have moderate-to-severe acne that keeps recurring
o If you are experiencing mental stress because of your acne, in whatever form it has taken

Take note that the last three reasons are considered ‘off label’ uses of isotretinoin.