The risks of taking Accutane

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The risks of taking Accutane

So any patient or parent of a patient who's considering Accutane has lots of questions about the side effects and while there's good information out there, there's also a lot of misinformation. So make sure you're getting your information from your dermatologist or a reputable website. When I think about side effects of Accutane, the first one that I talk to patients about are the common side effects that they're a nuisance but not really serious. They're mostly related to the skin. So patients on Accutance tend to have extreme dry skin, dry lips, even dryness inside the nose and eyes.They can have some muscle and joint aches that are reversible when they stop taking the treatment and their skin become more sensitive to sunburn. Those are all things that are easy to address or important to expect when you're taking Accutane. When patients are on the medication they have blood test done regularly and these are to monitor for any changes in the liver test and also the cholesterol. This brings us to some of the side effects that are more serious and the most serious of all is the effect of Accutane on a pregnancy. There's absolutely no safe dose of Accutane on a pregnancy and it has a high chance of causing problems with the developing fetus. So that's the most important discussion to have with your doctor, is how to absolutely prevent pregnancy while you're taking Accutane. In terms of very rare but potentially serious side effects, there is a serious type of headache that could come with blurry vision and vomiting and a serious type of skin reaction that can cause blisters but these happen extremely rarely in patients taking Accutane. Over 16 million people worldwide have taken it and so while there are a number of side effects, we understand them really well. The last two topics that have been really controversial about Accutane side effects are depression and a type of condition in the bowel that causes bloody diarrhea called Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Both of these conditions, in the media and online, have been linked to Accutane but when we look at all the people who've taken it, we don't believe that one causes the other. So they remain controversial. We don't believe Accutane causes depression or bowel disease but you should talk to your doctor about that before taking the medication. And the last thing to know about mood symptoms and Accutane is that acne patients do have a higher rate of depression and Accutane have been shown to improve depressive symptoms in patients with bad acne. So lots of consideration with side effects. The vast majority of them are mild and reverse when you stop taking the treatment but it's a really important discussion to have with your dermatologist before you take the medication.
TEEN, Health and Development, Acne

Watch Shannon Humphrey's video on The risks of taking Accutane...


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Shannon Humphrey


Dr. Shannon Humphrey is at the forefront of innovation in dermatology. Her active dermatology practice in Vancouver, British Columbia, is centered on the principle of using world-leading dermatological technologies and products to deliver healthy beautiful skin.

As the Director of Continuing Medical Education and Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Dermatology and Skin Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Humphrey teaches in the undergraduate, post-graduate and CME dermatology programs and also established an acne and rosacea subspecialty clinic. In addition to treating patients, Dr. Humphrey is an active clinical trialist, serving as the principal investigator for numerous pivotal cosmetic clinical trials.

Dr. Humphrey is a regular voice in local and national media and is an active committee member with the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the Women's Dermatologic Society, and the Canadian Dermatology Association.

A recognized expert in the use of soft tissue fillers and neuromodulators in particular, Dr. Humphrey is a frequent speaker and oft-published author on these topics with a continued focus on her personal passion for achieving natural-looking results.

Dr. Humphrey received her Bachelor of Science and MD with distinction from Dalhousie University, completed her dermatology residency at the University of British Columbia and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a Diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology.

Acne, Rashes and Skin Conditions
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