Zand Dermatology

Dermatologists located in Mill Valley, CA

Accutane Q & A

What is Accutane?

Accutane is a form of vitamin A that is available as an oral prescription pill to treat acne. Accutane is considered the most effective and curative treatment for acne, and it works by reducing sebum production, the amount of oil your skin produces. This helps prevent clogging of the pores, reduces skin inflammation, decreases the number of acne-causing bacteria on your skin, and speeds up the skin renewal process.

Accutane is also known as: Isotretinoin (generic), Myorsian, Absorica, Claravis, Sotret, Zenatane

What happens during my course of Accutane?

Your treatment course will depend on the severity of your acne and specific skin concerns, however typically patients take the medication daily for a total of 6 months

Before starting isotretinoin, all females need to have a negative pregnancy test. It does not affect birth control, but isotretinoin is associated with birth defects, so women are required to report two forms of birth control while on the medication

You’ll have monthly doctor appointments and blood tests to check your liver function and cholesterol levels in addition to a pregnancy test (if you’re a female who can get pregnant)

We start our patients on a lower dose and gradually increase to the desired dose based on weight to allow the body time to adjust to the medication

You should expect to start seeing significant improvement after 4 months

What are the most common side effects?

  • Dry and peeling skin (especially around the lips, eyes, and nose)
  • Nose bleeds
  • Joint and muscle pain

What are other rare side effects I should be aware of?

  • Increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Increased liver function tests
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision (especially at night)
  • Dizziness
  • HA

Depression, however, some studies have shown that isotretinoin can actually improve mental health with the clearance of their acne

What is the iPLEDGE program?

iPLEDGE is a computer-based risk management program that was founded in 2006 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set strict requirements for patients, providers, and pharmacists.

All patients are required to register with the program and must login in after monthly appointments to answer counseling questions in order to receive their medication.

How often do I need to do labs?

Plan to do monthly labs while taking Accutane. Please have the labs done 2-3 days prior to our monthly office visit so we can review them during your appointment. We will provide you with a 6 month standing lab order at your first visit.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Zand to discuss different acne treatments and create the right treatment plan just for you. We are here to walk you through all the logistics of starting Accutane and ensure that all of your questions are answered. Book an appointment online or call Zand Dermatology today. We can’t wait to see you at our stunning waterfront office in southern Marin.


Before & After Photos from Real Zand Dermatology Patients