The most effective treatment for acne is a drug called Accutane. But many doctors will not prescribe it for their patients because they are terrified of its side effects.

A recent study from Israel shows that Accutane has been on the market for 20 years and is far safer than many doctors think. Accutane can cause horrible birth defects and should not be prescribed to menstruating women unless they are extremely responsible. However, many doctors refuse to prescribe Accutane for severe acne because they are afraid that Accutane will damage livers, raise triglyceride levels and cause heart attacks. In this study, none of the patients had liver tests that were abnormal enough to stop treatment. Only 1.5 percent of patients had serum triglyceride levels above 400 mg%, but all continued treatment. Most exciting, only 3.5 percent of patients required a second treatment. For more on Accutane, see report #G200.

Analysis of laboratory data in acne patients treated with isotretinoin: is there really a need to perform routine laboratory tests? Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 2001, Vol 12, Iss 1, pp 9-12. J Alcalay, M Landau, A Zucker.

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