Accutane, or isotretinoin, is a form of vitamin A used to reduce the amount of oil released by oil glands in the skin. Accutane is prescribed to treat severe nodular acne that has not responded to other acne treatments. Accutane use may cause hair loss and alopecia, according to Drugs.com.
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Accutane, Vitamin A and Hair Loss
Patients taking Accutane should not take supplements containing vitamin A, according to Drugs.com. Accutane is a form of vitamin A and taking vitamin A supplements at the same time with Accutane can cause vitamin A toxicity. Vitamin A is necessary for growth of healthy hair. However, too much vitamin A can cause hair loss. Other signs of vitamin A toxicity include skin discoloration, bone pain, excessive skin dryness, skin peeling and poor vision due to dry eyes.
Accutane and Permanent Hair Loss
Accutane may also cause permanent hair loss, according to Drugs.com. Accutane damages hair shafts and follicles. Most patients experience temporary hair loss while taking Accutane. However, some patients may continue to lose hair even after they stop taking Accutane. The doctor may prescribe medications such as minoxidil, finasteride, corticosteroids and Anthralin to stimulate hair regrowth.
Accutane capsules should be taken with a full glass of water to prevent the capsule from melting in the esophagus, which can cause irritation. Patients receive no more than 30-day supply of Accutane at one time. Each prescription of Accutane must be filled within seven days of the date it was prescribed. Patients require regular blood tests and liver function tests to ensure that Accutane does not cause problems. Pregnant women should not take Accutane because it can cause severe birth defects. Women of childbearing age must agree in writing to use birth control.
Other Side Effects of Accutane
Accutane may cause side effects such as joint pain, back pain, dizziness, dryness of the lips, eyes, mouth, nose and skin, red cracked and sore lips, nosebleeds, peeling skin, slowed healing of wounds, swollen or bleeding gums, sweating, flushing, fatigue, changes in the color of skin and nails, according to Drugs.com. Severe side effects of Accutane include depression, stroke, blurred vision, hearing loss, seizure, bone fractures and yellowing of the skin and eyes.