Get access

Isotretinoin updates


Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, 5 E 98th St, Box 1048, New York, NY 10022, or email:


Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease of pilosebaceous follicles commonly affecting adolescents and young adults. This disease has a profound psychological impact on affected individuals and treatment has been shown to significantly improve both self-esteem and quality of life. Isotretinoin is an effective medication used primarily in severe cystic acne patients. Over the past 30 years, this medication has revolutionized the treatment of acne. However, despite its popularity there are numerous side effects associated with its use. Most of its side effects are predictable and dose dependent, which has led to the development of variable dose regimens. Unfortunately, rare but significant side effects (e.g., depression, inflammatory bowel disease) do occur and necessitate careful monitoring to improve clinical outcomes and minimize potential adverse events.