Roaccutane treatment for acne

Roaccutane Treatments At A Glance

  • Best Results4-12 weeks
  • Treatment RecoveryDuration 4-9 months
  • Procedure TimeNA
  • Skin SpecialistMedical dermatologist
  • Duration of ResultsRemission in >60%
  • AnaestheticNA
  • Back to WorkNA
  • Cost$

Roaccutane treatment for acne

Professional Roaccutane treatment:

Roaccutane/ Accutane/ Oratane is also known as isotretinoin. It is a form of vitamin A. This capsule remains as one of the most effective ways to treat acne and is restricted for use by dermatologists. It is vitally important to treat scarring forms of acne early- as this can prevent further scar formation. In severe cases of acne, Roaccutane maybe indicated. This form of treatment can have side effects, and careful monitoring by a dermatologist is needed. Research has shown that low doses of Vitamin A can also decrease scars, and help collagen remodel.

FactsFacts on Oratane / Roaccutane treatment

  • This tablet is effective in treating acne in 99% of cases, especially in severe acne
  • Over 60% of patients will receive long term cure after a course of this drug
  • The average course of Roaccutane therapy is 4-9 months
  • This capsule is a form of vitamin A and is used for the treatment of acne by Specialist Dermatologists
  • Early & effective treatment of acne prevents future scarring
  • Roaccutane remains as the most effective treatment of acne
  • Scar revision can be performed in parallel with isotretinoin treatment in most cases

What is Roaccutane/ Oratane / Accutane?

This tablet is also known as isotretinoin and is a form of vitamin A called a retinoid. It has been the mainstay for the management of severe acne or scarring acne in Australia for the past 30 years.

Length of therapy is extremely variable. Your dermatologist will discuss options for your acne subtype.

Roaccutane works by targeting the oil glands, & reducing oil production. In lower does it can help remodel dermal collagen and reduce scar formation- including acne scars. The main aim however is to PREVENT acne scar formation.

Should I go on Roaccutane for my acne?

Roaccutane should only be used if your acne is severe, cystic or scarring. This can also be used to treat acne that is recalcitrant to other treatment methods. An assessment and discussion with a Dermatologist is needed to ascertain if you are suitable for this medication, as there are numerous side-effects associated with this drug. Additionally females will need to take extra precaution in regards to contraception – if applicable.

The flip side is that this drug is 99% successful in treating cases of acne. An average person will need a course lasting between 4-9+ months. Improvement is seen within a few weeks of starting this medication.

In severe cases of acne, an early and transient ‘flare up’ maybe seen, however your Specialist will undertake steps to minimise this side-effect.

What side effects can I expect on Roaccutane?

The most common side effect is dryness of the lips & skin. Universally seen common and very easy to manage. Moisturise frequently and you will sail thru the course of treatment. Use a lip balm at least 3-5 times per day, and moisturise your skin at least twice a day.

Some patients may get dry eyes on Roaccutane/ Oratane, and using eye drops may help, especially if you wear contact lenses.

Your dermatologist will also order specific blood tests throughout your treatment course, making sure your liver & cholesterol levels are in check. Female patients are warned in regards to the serious consequences in regards to Roaccutane/ Oratane and pregnancy.

Roaccutane – Accutane – Oratane are associated with other side effects that are less common including-

  • Flare up of acne ( usually early in the course of treatment)
  • Headaches
  • Abnormal period cycles
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • ngrown toe and finger nails
  • Abdominal symptoms
For full list of side effect patient should refer to the product information accompanying the prescription.

How long is a course of Accutane- Roaccutane treatment?

The course of Roaccutane/ Oratane is variable & will depend on many factors including the type of acne, your body weight, the location of your acne and the side effects you may experience on this tablet. As a guide-

  • Average length of treatment 4-9+ months
  • Severe acne involving bacne acne, truncal acne 10-12 months
  • Low dose Roaccutane / Oratane program 14-20 months

Your Dermatologist will decide as to what is the optimal course of Roaccutane/ Oratane treatment based upon your acne type and your lifestyle.

Will my acne return if I stop taking Roaccutane?

Acne will be cured in >60% of patients who complete the course of Roaccutane. 30-35% of patient may need a second course.

There are several predictors as to the likelihood of a second course of this drug, including –

  • Bacne, truncal acne
  • Family history of acne
  • Acne at an early age
  • Severe cystic acne

Davin’s Perspective on isotretinoin treatment & acne scars

Isotretinoin has been the mainstay of treating severe scarring acne for nearly 3 decades. This drug is also used to treat resistant cases of acne that fail to respond to normal acne treatment. Patients who exhibit early scarring maybe a suitable candidate for this medication. Side effects are commonly seen, and all patients will need to be carefully monitored on this medication.

Most patients will require only one course of this drug. A course lasts between 4 to 9 months depending on the severity of the acne, and the location of acne. Truncal acne, or bacne patients will often require a prolonged course.

For patients who would like to avoid drugs & pursue a natural pathway, lasers & peels can be considered. AviClear is a new non-ablative laser in the 1726 nm wavelength. It will be in Australia in 2023. AviClear is FDA approved to treat all types of acne, ranging from mild to even severe cystic scarring acne. Three laser sessions are required, spaced one month apart. AviClear is well tolerated with a clearance rate of 85% at three months. Results continue to improve after the last laser treatment.

AviClear offers a fast, effective & drug free way to treat acne.

20-25% of patients relapse after one course of isotretinoin, and may benefit from a second course of medication. Be guided by your medical dermatologist.

Why treat scars whilst on Accutane?  Since 2016, the consensus is that acne scars can be treated whist on isotretinoin. We know that early treatment of acne scars can provide far faster results with less downtime as compared to delayed treatments. Simple cost effective, non-invasive treatments such as RF, nano-RF, non-ablative lasers & Tixel can give outstanding results.

accutane cystic acne
Be guided by your treating dermatologist. This patient of mine had severe cystic acne. I treated him with oral retinoids & anti-inflammatories over 9 months. Once under control I use RF nano, a non-invasive treatment for scars. Treated early & effectively, scars can be prevented.

Disclaimer: I am not pro, nor against isotretinoin. This debate can be taken up with your treating physical or dermatologist. My work is entirely procedural, I do not treat acne. My views are solely directed at mitigating acne scarring through effective acne management. My focus is solely on effective control & remission of acne. This results in less scarring & lifetime results when I revise scars.

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