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Did you know that Accutane – a popular and powerful acne medication – has been linked to serious side effects including depression and suicide?

A study in the British Medical Journal that shows an increase in suicide among people taking the acne drug Accutane probably will not prompt the FDA to consider whether it should be withdrawn from the market. Why should it? It gives users clear skin. Only some of them end up with colostomy bags from the bowel damage it also causes. And only some of them kill themselves – Accutane’s other odd side effect.

— Jim Edwards at bnet.com (Yes, This Acne Drug Might Make You Kill Yourself – but Don’t Expect Anyone to Care)

Accutane can cause serious side effects

Common side effects of Accutane include:

  • pain and swelling of the lips
  • severe itching
  • hair thinning, hair loss, and baldness
  • fragile and weaker skin
  • vision problems (conjunctivitis, contact lens intolerance, decreased night vision)
  • nosebleeds
  • elevated liver enzymes (leading to liver damage)
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain

More serious side effects of Accutane include:

  • depression
  • suicide
  • bowel problems
  • erectile dysfunction
  • violent behavior and aggression
  • hearing impairment
  • birth defect
  • stroke
  • seizure

Drug maker, Roche, marketed Accutane from 1982 until 2009. However, internal Roche documents show that company scientists knew about Accutane’s bowel problems starting in 1985. At the time, Accutane’s warning labels were inadequate. Now studies are confirming Accutane’s link to depression, suicide and death.

[More information on Accutane’s severe side effects]

[More posts from the "Did You Know" series]

(c) Copyright 2010 Brett A. Emison

One Comment

  1. Gravatar for Jim

    Remember that the generic versions of Accutane, such as Sotret, Amnesteem and Claravis, are just as dangerous as Accutane. Although Roche took Accutane off the market in the U.S. and several other countries in 2009, these generics continue to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

    Also, Accutane is now sold by Roche under the name Roaccutane in countries outside the U.S.

    If you are considering taking Accutane, look for alternatives with less severe side effects.

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