Many people suffer from embarrassing, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, acne in their teens and even into adulthood. The market is currently flooded with treatments, potions, and medications that purport to help alleviate or even cure acne. One of these medications, which is generically known as isotretinoin, is marketed under the brand-name Accutane.

Accutane is used to treat severe acne that has not been helped by other treatments, including antibiotics. The active ingredient in Accutane, isotretinoin, is in a group of medications called retinoids. Retinoids work by slowing the production of certain natural substances that lead to the formation of pimples. Accutane may also be used to treat other conditions, as well as some types of cancer.

Although Accutane is effective in typically effective in clearing skin of acne, it has numerous potential side effects, some of which are extremely serious or even life-threatening. The side effects from Accutane range from mild to severe. Milder side effects include chapped lips; dry and itching skin; mild nosebleeds; irritation of eyes and eyelids; joint and muscle pain; temporary hair thinning; rash; decreased night vision; increased sensitivity to the sun; and headaches. More serious side effects include intestinal problems; urinary symptoms; depression, psychosis or thoughts of suicide. There have been patients taking Accutane who have attempted suicide or have committed suicide.

The most serious side effect of Accutane, aside from suicide, is the risk of serious birth defects if the medication is taken during pregnancy. If Accutane is taken immediately before a woman becomes pregnant or while pregnant, there is a high risk that it will cause a loss of the pregnancy, the baby to be born prematurely, to die shortly after birth, or to be born with birth defects. Because the risks to to pregnant women are so great, the pharmaceutical manufacturer of Accutane (isotretinoin) has enacted a pregnancy risk management program that all patients, female or male, must participate in.

Women who are taking Accutane must sign a pledge, called the iPLEDGE, to ensure that pregnant do not take isotretinoin or that they will not become pregnant while taking isotretinoin. Patients, including women who cannot get pregnant, and men, cannot get Accutane until they have registered with iPLEDGE and have a prescription from a doctor who is also registered with iPLEDGE. In addition, women who are able to have children must meet certain requirements to get Accutane, including the requirement to use two forms of birth control while taking the medication.

If you have taken Accutane and have experienced any of side effects associated with the medication, you should speak with your physician right away. He or she will assess your medical condition and determine what course of action to take.

The United States Food and Drug Administration requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to perform a series of thorough tests on medications before they are approved for use. The FDA weighs the risks against the benefits of the medication; if the benefits outweigh the risks, approval is typically made. Unfortunately, often many serious risks of medications are not discovered until the medicine has been approved and many people have started using the medicine and developed health complications as a result. Although drugs have to be approved by the FDA, it does not always mean that they are safe. Numerous drugs that had been approved by the FDA were later recalled because they resulted in severe illness, injury, or even death.

If you have suffered from the serious side effects associated with Accutane, it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer. A lawyer who is knowledgeable about pharmaceutical laws and personal injury will guide you through the legal process and help to determine if you can make a claim. In the event that you can make a viable claim, your attorney will do what he or she can to help you receive compensation for medical costs, and potentially for any pain and suffering you may have experienced.