The Acne Drug

A Beauty Guru reader recently sent me an email in which she mentioned that her dermatologist had just prescribed her a generic brand of Accutane. Her email made me want to share a little bit about what Accutane (and its generic versions) do to the body.

Roche Holding AG, the manufacturer of Accutane, has been sued continually for the countless mental and physical health problems developed by Accutane users. They’ve already paid out $45 million in damages.

It’s well known that taking the drug causes inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Actor James Marshall, who starred in A Few Good Men, sued Roche for $11 million in damages because he lost his colon after taking Accutane. Martin Sheen actually took the stand to testify on his behalf. A 24-year-old woman who had part of her intestines removed won $10 million from Roche.

But that’s not the scariest part of the drug. The scariest part is psychiatric in nature. In 2005 the FDA warned that all Accutane users (and users of the generic forms of the drug) should be observed closely for symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts. Brain scans taken in 2004 showed that people taking Accutane suffered a 21% decrease in frontal brain activity. Yes, that’s right a 21% decrease in frontal brain activity. That’s the part of the brain that plays a role in mood and social interaction.

This has led to many families suing Roche over the years. Families of people such as:

  1. Charles Bishop, a 15-year-old who crashed a plane into a skyscraper after eight months on Accutane
  2. Matthew Turney, a 16-year-old who shot himself
  3. Steven Wertheimer, a 14-year-old who stood in front of an oncoming train
  4. Bart Stupak Jr., the son of a Michigan congressman, who took his father’s gun and shot himself in the head
  5. James Bencz, a 31-year-old firefighter who was found at the bottom of a lake with a 44-lb barbell strapped to his body

As if all this wasn’t enough to make you run screaming away from the drug, Accutane has a 100% guarantee of birth defects if taken while pregnant. You have to be on birth control while taking the drug or they won’t even let you take it. The Mayo Clinic said, “Isotretinoin (the generic name for Accutane) is associated with severe birth defects.” According to the Accutane website “There is an extremely high risk that severe birth defects will result if pregnancy occurs while taking Accutane in any amount, even for short periods of time.”

Roche finally took Accutane off the market in 2009, but it wasn’t for the reason you might think. The truth was that the generic versions of the drug (isotretinoin), were outselling them. Accutane simply couldn’t handle the competition. Now drugs with new names such as Claravis, Sotret, and Amnesteem, are being prescribed across the U.S. But all of these drugs are still Accutane—just with a new name. .

Here’s the thing: The psychological problems people with acne face can seem so bad at times that compromising their health is not really an issue if it means getting rid of the acne for good. But Accutane is absolutely not the way to go. In fact, dermatologists do not have the solution for acne at all. But there is a solution…something that will eliminate your acne like Accutane does without putting your mind and body in harm’s way. Read about it here.

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