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Acne Drug has Disastrous Mental Side Effects

The drug Accutane is commonly prescribed for nodular acne in teens and adults, and it is often found to be highly effective. The risks, however, are very steep – the side effects of Accutane range from the problematic to the disastrous.

Annually, the drug brings its maker Hoffman-La Roche more than $700 million per year. More than 12 million people worldwide and 5 million Americans have taken the drug.

But, if you are female, be absolutely sure you don’t get pregnant while taking Accutane! According to Julia Green at the Harvard Law School Food andDrug Law in a March 2002 report, “About one quarter of babies born who have been exposed to Accutane during gestation have major congenital deformities. Those babies born without major malformations frequently develop severe learning disabilities. A whole segment of Accutane babies do not even survive pregnancy; 40% are spontaneously miscarried.”

As a result of the discoveries of the dangers of this drug, the restrictions for prescribing Accutane are severe: a female patient must go through two negative pregnancy tests before she can receive a prescription and must be re-tested each month before she receives a refilled prescription.

It’s no safer for male patients. The medication guide for this medication states, “Some patients, while taking Accutane or soon after stopping Accutane, have become depressed or developed other serious mental problems.” Indeed, consider the case of Charles Bishop, the 15-year old who had been taking Accutane before he flew a small plane into a Tampa, Florida office building a few months after the September 11th terrorist attacks.

A little study of all the information available on the Internet regarding Accutane might lead one to consider non-drug therapies for nodular acne.

SOURCE: http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/accutane/medicationguide.htm, http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/472/Green.html