Acne Pop-Up: What is Accutane?

For our patients who have tried unsuccessfully to treat their acne or for those who have the most severe, painful, scarring acne our medical providers may recommend a medication called Accutane.

Accutane (Isotretinoin) is a pill form of Vitamin A, which is a naturally occurring vitamin in our bodies. When this medicine is taken by mouth it helps to cure acne by fighting it at multiple touch points that cause acne. Isotretinoin decreases excess oil products which clog the pores, it treats the bacteria P. Acnes and it reduces inflammation. Isotretinoin is an extremely effective medication and in most cases results in permanently clear skin after the medication is taken.

Isotretinoin is taken by mouth, generally 1-3 pills per day for a duration of anywhere between 6 – 9 months. Some patients may finish their course of medication faster, and some may need additional months to clear their acne.
If you and your dermatology provider decide that Isotretinoin is the right treatment for you, you will be enrolled in the iPLEDGE™ program which tracks all patients who take this medication. While on Isotretinoin you will see your provider once monthly to check in and look at your progress and to get new medication. You will also be asked to have your blood drawn at several points during your treatment, and if you are a female of childbearing potential you will be required to take a pregnancy test each month that you are on this medication.

While Isotretinoin is an effective and safe medication when used together with your trained dermatology provider, it does have some potential side effects. If a woman taking this medication were to become pregnant, the medication could cause birth defects or miscarriage of the pregnancy. Other potential side effects include dry skin and chapped lips, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, depression or depressive thoughts, blurry vision. If it is decided that Isotretinoin is right for you, your provider will review all side effects in detail before beginning the medication.

If you have been suffering from severe acne, or any acne that is leaving scars on the skin or is not responding to other treatments Accutane may be an option for you. This life-changing treatment has provided clear skin for thousands upon thousands of patients. If you would like to discuss acne treatment or Accutane, our medical providers would love to help you achieve the clear skin you have been craving.

We are accepting new patients and can often accommodate your appointment within one week. Call our offices today to take the first step towards clear skin and a confident you.

Accutane for Acne Treatment

Sometimes patients come to us with very severe acne that consists of nodules, cysts, and pustules on the skin. Many times, this deep cystic type of acne has already left scars on the skin and is causing distress to the patient. Often, we will see patients with acne that has been treated for years with different oral antibiotics, topical creams, washes, and other in-office procedures, yet it still does not improve.

Severe, painful acne can significantly affect your quality of life. Grades may suffer, social isolation may occur, and job performance may suffer. In these cases of severe acne or unresponsive acne, a medication called Accutane® (Isotretinoin) may be discussed as a curative option. Accutane is a pill form of Vitamin A that, when ingested, helps reduce oil production, inflammation, bacteria levels, and clogged pores. For many, treating acne with Accutane provides a curative option for the acne that has been plaguing them for years.

Accutane is a highly regulated medication because it can cause side effects such as headache, dry eyes and skin, nosebleeds, vision changes or mood changes. Accutane is not allowed for use by women who are planning a pregnancy, currently pregnant, or breastfeeding because of the harm it can cause to the baby. Accutane also causes significant skin sensitivity so excess sun exposure, facials, and skin waxing should be avoided while you are on the medication.

Most patients who complete a course of Accutane with a licensed, trained dermatology provider see results within a few months and finish the total treatment course within 6-8 months. Accutane is commonly taken as one to two pills per day, and every month you are on this medicine you will be seen by your dermatology provider.

If you have been suffering from painful, severe, scarring acne or have been using prescription medications for your acne that have not been working, Accutane may be an option for you.

Brooke Moss, PA-C, MPH is a board certified Physician Assistant specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology. She is currently accepting new patients in our Edina and Downtown Minneapolis locations.


2 Carlson Parkway N., Suite 100
Plymouth, MN 55447

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