Isotretinoin - oral

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Isotretinoin is used to treat severe forms of acne which are resistant to treatments with antibiotics or topical therapy.

This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
How do I take this medicine?
Take Isotretinoin exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.

Take it together with food or immediately after a meal. Swallow it whole with a glass of water. Do not break, chew or suck the capsule. Try to take it at the same time each day.
What should I do if I have forgotten to take this medicine?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.

DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.

If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
When should I not use this medicine?
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • liver disease
  • high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (fat) in the blood
  • hypervitaminosis A (very high level of vitamin A in your body)
as this medicine may not be suitable for you.

Do not take Isotretinoin if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with this medicine, alert your doctor immediately. Isotretinoin may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking this medicine.

Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.

Do not take this medicine with antibiotics such as tetracycline.
What should I take note of while taking this medicine?
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • renal disease
  • history of mental illness e.g. depression
  • bone loss or bone metabolism disorder e.g. osteoporosis (bones become brittle or fragile due to lack of calcium or vitamin D), osteomalacia (softening of bones)
  • diabetes
  • obesity
Notify your doctor if you consume large amounts of alcohol or if you are a frequent drinker.

Skin and hair will be more delicate while you are taking Isotretinoin. Avoid hair treatment, waxing or using facial peels.

This medicine may cause your skin to be more sensitive to sunlight. Apply sunscreen when going outdoors. Avoid direct or prolonged exposure to the sun and ultraviolet (UV) lamps like tanning beds.

Isotretinoin may cause birth defects and other serious health problems. Do not donate blood while taking this medicine or for one month after the treatment.

Do not share this medicine with anyone else.

Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.

- Routine pregnancy tests will be done before, during and after taking the medication.
- Your doctor may need to do tests for liver function, blood cholesterol and sugar level while you are being treated with Isotretinoin.
- Regular monitoring of signs of depression, skin reactions and changes in vision may also be needed.
What side effects could I experience?
Isotretinoin may cause drowsiness, dizziness or some problems with your eyesight (e.g. blurred vision, pain, redness, dry eyes, discomfort when wearing contact lenses, decreased night vision). If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.

Other side effects include any of the following: dry skin, rash, back pain, muscle pain and joint pain.

Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
  • ringing in your ear or changes in your hearing
  • visual disturbances combined with headache, nausea and vomiting
  • severe allergic reactions such as breathlessness, swollen mouth or face, rashes with skin peeling or blisters
  • frequent and persistent sore throat with fever
  • stomach pain
  • blood in stool or severe diarrhoea
  • unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
  • thinking, seeing or hearing things that are not real
  • thoughts of self-harm
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Can I take this with other medicines?
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
  • medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin
  • vitamin A or formulations containing vitamin A
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Isotretinoin.

Inform your doctor if you are currently taking birth control pills as this can reduce the effectiveness of Isotretinoin. You should not stop or start any birth control pills without first informing your doctor. Ask your doctor about using non-hormonal birth control as an alternative while being treated with this medicine.

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.

Limit your intake of vitamin A supplements. Avoid taking foods that are rich in vitamin A.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children. Protect from light and moisture.

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on isotretinoin - oral and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2021 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by
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