9 unexpected side effects you can experience on the powerful acne medication Accutane

  • Isotretinoin is the prescription acne medication better known as Accutane.
  • It can cause some side effects that seem totally unrelated to your skin, like dry eyes, nosebleeds, or thinning hair.
  • Most people tolerate isotretinoin very well, a dermatologist told INSIDER.
  • If you’re struggling with side effects, your doctor can adjust your dose.

Isotretinoin — the prescription acne pill better known by the now-defunct brand name Accutane — is well-known for its ability to clear severe, treatment-resistant acne. Many patients who take the medicine, typically for a four- to five-month course, experience a prolonged (sometimes permanent) disappearance of their blemishes.

Just like any medication, though, isotretinoin can cause side effects, including some that you might not expect — like muscle pain and dry eyes — given that it’s a medicine for the skin.

The presence of side effects doesn’t mean isotretinoin isn’t worth taking. Just about every acne treatment has benefits and drawbacks, and for a lot of acne patients, isotretinoin’s side effects are worth the results.

Read more: 10 of your most burning questions about Accutane, answered by dermatologists

“It’s very well tolerated, and in many cases is going to be the only treatment that’s going to put patients’ acne into remission,” dermatologist Dr. Kathleen Suozzi, assistant professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, told INSIDER.

Still, side effects are a reality of undergoing the powerful therapy. Here are nine that are possible while taking the drug.

(Note: This isn’t an exhaustive list of possible side effects. You can find a more complete list at the US National Library of Medicine website.)

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