Medicine & USMLE


Other Drugs
  1. Isotretinoin
  2. Pilocarpine


Isotretinoin is a drug derived from Vitamin A that is used to treat severe acne that is resistant to other forms of treatment. The biggest adverse effect of isotretinoin is that it’s teratogenic so patients should be taught to use two forms of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Another side effect of isotretinoin is skin sensitivity.

Key Points

  • Isotretinoin (Accutane)
    • Mechanism
      • Vitamin A derivative 
        • Vitamin A supplements should be avoided to avoid toxicity
    • Clinical Use
      • Severe acne
        • Used when acne is unresponsive to other treatment
    • Side Effects and Adverse Reactions
      • Teratogenic
        • Pregnancy category X
        • Negative pregnancy test is required before start of treatment
        • Use two forms of birth control during treatment
        • Patients taking isotretinoin shouldn’t donate blood to avoid the risk of giving blood with the drug to a pregnant woman
      • Skin sensitivity
        • Dryness of skin, mouth, and eyes
        • Skin irritation
        • Photosensitivity (sunburn)
        • Common, expected side effects
      • Muscle damage
      • Dizziness
      • Headache