Accutane Side Effects


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Accutane is famous for its tradeoff: Clear skin in exchange for a lifelong battle with Accutane side effects. While the raw deal is non-refundable, the maker of Accutane has been ordered to pay out millions to victims whose sacrifices ofinflammatory bowel diseasebirth defectsdepression, and even suicide were held to be worth much more than the victims’ pretty new faces.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Inflammatory Bowel disease, or “IBD,” is a general disease of the digestive system. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are two examples of the painful, chronic conditions caused by Accutane. IBD causes inflammation and irritation of the intestines. Symptoms range from bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and fever, to life-threatening events such as bleeding ulcers and bowel cancer. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged intestinal tissue. Several Accutane lawsuits resulted in multi-million dollar Accutane lawsuit settlements for patients who developed side effects as a result of taking the medication.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis falls under the umbrella of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and is characterized by the formation of ulcers in rectum and colon. Ulcerative colitis is often difficult to diagnose and treat. Symptoms like rectal bleeding, dehydration, and fatigue are symptomatic of many conditions. And treatment can range from simple anti-inflammatory drugs to more drastic measures such as surgery to remove colon tissue. With so many reports of patients developing the condition while taking the acne medication, the FDA required the maker of Accutane to include Ulcerative Colitis among the other serious Accutane side effects.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is another Inflammatory Bowel Disease that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. Like Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease is a difficult Accutane Side Effect to diagnose due to its generalized symptomatology and similarity to other gastrointestinal diseases. In addition to cramping and abdominal pain, patients may suffer rectal bleeding serious enough to cause anemia, skin problems, and malnutrition. While there is no cure for the condition, patients may enjoy periods of remission between flare-ups. Accutane is a known cause of Crohn’s Disease.

Birth Defects

Accutane causes birth defects at such an alarming rate that FDA implemented a radical program in order to combat the risk. The iPledge program, created in 2006, forced women taking Accutane to use 2 forms of birth control and undergo monthly pregnancy tests throughout treatment. Without the safeguard, women risk a 30% chance of giving birth to a child with serious Accutane birth defects including cleft palate, heart problems, brain deformities, and infant death. The list of possible Accutane birth defects goes on and on.

Depression and Suicide

In 1999, the FDA placed a suicide warning on Accutane as the reported cases of depression and suicide emerged as a growing problem for patients taking the acne medication. The FDA places Accutane as the fifth leading drug contributing to depression. Accutane is further distinguished among the top 10 drugs linked to suicide and attempted suicide.

Other Accutane Side Effects

In addition to the life-altering and life threatening Accutane side effects detailed above, other serious conditions have been reported such as:

  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Eczema
  • Menstrual problems
  • Joint pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to sunlight