The quick facts about this drug

Then Accutane, Now Absorica

Absorica was originally known as Accutane. They are drugs that are prescribed to treat moderate to severe acne in people of all ages. They were both produced using isotretinoin, but Accutane was taken off the market in 2009 according to Drug Watch. Roche Pharmaceuticals had developed Accutane in 1980 and dermatologists were impressed by how effective the drug was. However, serious side effects including suicidal thoughts and birth defects caused the company to stop producing the drug. There are currently about 1,000- 5,000 patients and their families filing or have filed lawsuits against Roche Pharmaceuticals. When a patient is prescribed Absorica now the doctor is very involved in the treatment and making sure the body is responding well to the medication.

Background on Acne

Acne Treatment in Philadelphia - By Dr. Ringpfeil - Board certified dermatologist

How Does it Work?

The active ingredient in this drug is isotretinoin. Isotretinoin decreases oil production and, according to acne.org, prevents pores from clogging by shrinking the oil glands by 35%- 58%. Also, the acne bacteria in the skin is significantly reduced.

Absorica Packaging

Picture taken from website

Where are the affects?

Absorica will affect any acne on the body. Primarily the face, back, shoulders and chest. Doctors will only prescribe this strong medicine if the patient has been treating acne for a long time with very little success.

What are the Side Effects?

According to Mayo Clinic and Drugs.com a few side effects of isotretinoin include:

  • Joint pains
  • Severe dry skin, lips, eyes, mouth and nose
  • Skin infections
  • Behavior changes- can include depressed moods or suicidal thoughts
  • Increased skin sensitivity to the sunlight
  • Headaches
  • Hair thinning
  • Drowsiness

Along with the side effects above, if a woman is pregnant while taking isotretinoin her child will most likely be born with abnormalities such as:

  • Cleft palete
  • Problems with the structure of the skull, ears and eyes
  • Issues in various systems of the body: cardiovascular and central nervous systems are a couple examples

What is the Cost?

The average price of the drug is very high. Depending on insurance and any coupons given to patients by doctors the price could be lower.

According to RealSelf the average price is $425.

Other Information

Any woman who is taking isotretinoin has to go through the iPLEDGE program. It is used to ensure that women taking this drug are not pregnant and are using suitable contraception methods to prevent pregnancies. The women are required to have a blood test each month so their doctors can prove they have not become pregnant. For more information about the iPLEDGE program visit their website.