Parents are sometimes reluctant to start their teenagers on Accutane® (isotretinoin) because they are concerned that their child might be at increased risk of committing suicide because of the drug. A paper presented at the American Academy of Dermatology 66th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX last month helps to dispel this myth.
In this poster, physicians presented results from data collected over ten years, from 1993 to 2003. They showed that in nearly 10 million patient visits, there was no association between Accutane (isotretinoin) and self injury or suicide.
This is yet another in a series of studies which demonstrate that there is no causative association between Accutane and suicide and that suicide behavior in patients on Accutane is an uncommon, idiosyncratic phenomenon that could occur with any drug. Much of the current concern was generated from a single high profile, unfortunate case where a Congressman’s son, who was on Accutane, committed suicide.
Accutane can have serious side effects and does have risks associated with its use. But it is the single most powerful drug to treat severe acne and can save someone from a lifetime of scars if used appropriately.
Gupta, M and Gupta A. Isotretinoin, self-injury and suicide: A negative association in data representing over 9.6 million patient visits involving isotretinoin use. P900 presented at the American Academy of Dermatology 66th Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX, Feb 1-5, 2008.