Generic name: Isotretinoin.

Accutane is an anti-acne drug. It inhibits the production of sebum and the process of keratinization, which leads to severe acne. It is in the same chemical family as vitamin A. 

Quick Facts About Accutane


Used to treat severe, disfiguring cystic acne which has not responded to antibiotics.

Accutane Dosage

Take with food; follow the instructions carefully.
After completing Accutane therapy, you should have a 2-month period of time off the medication. If your acne is still severe after this period, you may be prescribed a 2nd course of therapy. Do not crush capsules.

  • Usual adult dose: initially — 0.5 to 1 milligram per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day, divided into 2 doses daily, for 15 to 20 weeks. Doctor may increase up to 2 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight.
  • Usual child dose (adolescents only): initially — 0.5 to 3C | milligram per 2.2 pounds of body weight per day, divided into 2 doses daily, for 15 to 20 weeks. Doctor may increase up to 2 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless almost time for next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Accutane  Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

abdominal pain; dizziness; dry, cracked, inflamed lips; facial flushing; incoordination and clumsiness; headache; vomiting. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

More common Accutane  side effects:  conjunctivitis (pinkeye); dry or fragile skin; dry, cracked, excessive scaling; inflamed lips; dry mouth; dry nose; itching, joint pains; nosebleed.

Less common side effects: bowel inflammation and pain, chest pain, decreased night vision, decreased tolerance to contact lenses, depression, fatigue, headache, nausea, peeling of palms or soles, rash, skin infections, stomach and intestinal discomfort, sunburn-sensitive skin, thinning hair, urinary discomfort, vision problems, vomiting.


Inform your doctor before combining Accutane with:

vitamin supplements containing vitamin A.

No known food/other substance interactions.

Special Cautions

Do not use if pregnant; Accutane causes birth defects, including mental retardation and physical malformations. Women should have monthly pregnancy tests while taking Accutane; if you become pregnant, immediately stop taking Accutane and see your doctor. Women of childbearing age will receive verbal and written warnings about avoiding pregnancy during Accutane therapy. You must sign an informed consent form before starting this medication. Women must test negative for pregnancy within 2 weeks prior to beginning therapy, and you must start Accutane on the 2nd or 3rd day of your menstrual period. May appear in breast milk; could affect a nursing infant.

No special precautions apply to seniors.

Follow doctor’s instructions carefully for children.

  • Stop taking Accutane if you experience: abdominal pain, bleeding from the rectum, or severe diarrhea.
  • Do not donate your blood while taking this medication, and for at least 1 month after finishing therapy.
  • Swelling of the optic nerve may occur; see a neurologist if you experience headache, nausea, or visual disturbances.
  • Use caution when driving at night; sudden decreases in night vision have been observed.
  • If you are sensitive to parabens, the preservative used in the capsules, you should not take Accutane.

Note: provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Accutaneside effects, please contact your healthcare provider.