Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid)


Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid, Accutane) is thought to help with regulating cell growth and is used in the treatment of certain types of cancer in addition to chemotherapy. Also, it is used to treat severe acne.

This medication is available as a capsule to be taken by mouth.  For patients unable to swallow the capsule whole, an oral liquid can be prepared by a pharmacy.

  • Take by mouth with food and a full glass of water.
  • Do not crush capsules.
  • This medication causes dry eyes and may prevent your child from wearing contact lenses.
  • Females of child-bearing age should have a pregnancy test prior to starting this medication.
  • Females of child-bearing age should use two forms of birth control while taking this medication. Taking this medication while pregnant can cause very serious birth defects. If you become pregnant while using this medication, tell your doctor immediately.
  • This drug may cause dry mouth. Sugarless gum, hard candy, water, or ice chips may help.
  • Before starting any new medications, including vitamins, talk to the doctor.
  • This drug may increase your child's sensitivity to the sun. Be careful to limit your child's sun exposure and use sunscreen (SPF 15) and wear protective clothing (long sleeves and hats) when outside.
  • Store medication at room temperature, away from moisture and sunlight. Do not refrigerate or store in the bathroom.
  • Do not use after the expiration date on the bottle / package.
  • If too much medicine is taken by accident, call the Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC), 513-636-5111 or 1-800-222-1222, or call your child's doctor immediately.
  • Keep this medication out of the reach of children.

For any medication information related to your child's dosing schedule and/or missed doses, contact the healthcare provider who prescribed the medication.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomachache
  • Thirst or dry mouth
  • Dry peeling lips
  • Redness of the lips and eyes
  • Changes in eyesight or eye sensitivity to the sun
  • Joint pains and/or muscle aches
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Bleeding or easy bruising
  • Blood in the urine
  • Numbness or tingling

Last Updated 11/2013