There is some unfortunate news this week about Accutane’s future that will have a significant impact on many of you. The L.A. Times is reporting that a connection between the medication and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been confirmed. Roche, the company that manufactures the medication, pulled it from the market earlier this year pending further investigation into the matter. It was suspect in increasing a person’s susceptibility to contracting the disorder. The most recent study revealed that Isotretinoin users have twice the risk of developing this disorder than the average person. This sounds scary at first, but the overall prevalence of the condition is extremely low. Only 1 in 500 people in the United States suffer from IBD, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 1-6 cases per 100,000 people are reported on a yearly basis, so the risk is quite miniscule.
When a person gets IBD, their intestinal organs become inflamed causing a slew of unfavorable symptoms including diarrhea, bloody stool, and abdominal pain – just to name a few. Apparently, IBD can affect other bodily organs including your bones and liver. It can even stunt growth in younger children. Treatment can entail anything from taking prescription medications to having your intestine removed in a surgical procedure. Naturally, it all depends on the progression of the disease.
We honestly feel that it makes little sense to pull the drug from the market in light of this new information. Accutane has already been linked to a number of other, equally alarming conditions, such depression. This alone has kept many from even experimenting with the drug when in actuality they faced little risk. People with severe forms of acne are usually willing to take that risk as it is their last resort. If your skin doesn’t respond to topical regimens/antibiotics, Accutane is your best bet. It seems that physicians constantly downplay the psychological dimensions to acne. Who’s to say that the physical risks take precedence over the psychological ones?
It’s worth mentioning that the article cited the astronomical cost of a course of Accutane, which in many cases is covered by insurance companies. Without any help from your insurer, it can cost over $1,000 per month to sustain the treatment. With this fiery battle raging on over the new course of our health care system, it seems all to coincidental that Accutane is just now starting to raise serious concerns. Its been on the market for at over 20 years now, so why all the sudden excitement?
We will have to wait and see what unfolds next in this saga. Hopefully, people will come to their senses and realize that although some dangerous side effects may be involved, the medication is unmatched when treating severe forms of acne. Do we really want to be putting people with cystic or nodulocystic acne in a corner, with nowhere to turn? As far as we’re concerned, the consequences of doing away with Accutane are far greater than the alternative – to let it be. Even taking into account this new research, we can safety speak for past Accutane users when we say they probably don’t regret their decision.