1 What is Absorica?

Brand: Absorica, Accutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan, Sotret, Zenatane

Generic: Isotretinoin

Absorica is a drug which is used for the treatment of nodular acne in those who have not responded well to other acne medications. It is also now used for many other skin problems like bacterial infections, acne rosacea, sweat gland problems and skin disorders in which patches of skin become thick (keratosis, etc).

It is available only under a registered program in United States namely “IPLEDGE” program. It is not suitable for use in pregnant women or those of child bearing age due to its significant effects on the fetus. Isotretinoin is a prescription drug available in the form of dry capsule or liquid filled capsule.

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2 What to Know Before Using

Absorica is used for the treatment of severe skin problems. The patient is already disturbed due to the psychological implications of any skin problem that it is important for the doctor to make sure that he/she conveys all the important details to the patient. It is also the duty of the patient to let the doctor know about any information regarding ailment or any question about the therapy.

  • Detailed history of a patient is extremely important prior to any medical therapy and in this case, it is preferred that a drug be started after it. Allergies or any history of allergy to any drug, food, preservatives, dyes or animal products; history of drug usage, past medical or surgical procedure should also be kept in record to predict any drug interaction.
  • Physical examination should be done before starting this drug so that any physiological or pathological condition with which this drug may interfere may be ruled out.
  • Age specific analysis of the patients is necessary to outline specific side effects and certain complications particular to that age group. There are not enough studies to provide evidence of the safety of drug usage in children under 12 years of age; however, those above 12 years of age should also be cautious while using this drug, especially those with any bone problem. There is also lack of considerable research in geriatric patients to rule out its safety. Pregnant women should avoid this drug as it is harmful to the fetus and those of childbearing age should also be aware. Breastfeeding women have relatively less risks but it is better for them to take other medication, if possible.
  • Drug interactions occur when other drugs are used along with isotretinoin. Other drugs may affect the working or removal of this drug and cause more side effects. The use of this drug with antibiotics (especially tetracyclines) and hormonal agents is contraindicated. Alcohol should also be avoided due to its interactions with this drug. Patient should also ask about possible interactions with tobacco, over the counter drugs and certain foods.
  • Other medical conditions may result in decrease in efficacy of the drug or increase its potential harms. Patient should inform the doctor about any allergy, metabolic disease, diabetes, weight gain problems, bone disorders, asthma, depression, vision or hearing problems, heart disease, hepatitis, intestinal disorders, pancreatitis, and swelling in the brain, psychosis, vitamin A overdose and kidney or liver disease.

3 Proper Usage

To use Absorica properly, patient should adhere to the instructions given by the doctor and that present on the information leaflet included with the medication.

Women of reproductive age have to sign the “IPLEDGE” pregnancy risk program.

Swallow the capsule with full glass of water. Follow the dosage plan carefully and do not overtake or miss any dose.

4 Precautions to Take

There are some precautions which a patient can take for enhancing the outcome of using Absorica and to minimize the side effects as much as possible.

  • Regular visits to the doctor are important to check the progress of drug.
  • Blood tests can be done to check for its effects on the body.
  • Avoid its usage in pregnancy as it causes birth defects.
  • Women of child bearing age should avoid its use as much as possible.
  • Use two forms of effective birth control method to avoid pregnancy one month before starting the medication and keep using these until one month has passed since cessation of drug.
  • Do not take vitamin A supplements while being on this drug, unless advised by the doctor.
  • Wait 30 days after stopping the drug for donating blood.
  • Do not drive at night, use machines or do heavy work as this drug may cause night vision problems.
  • Use artificial tears to relieve eye dryness caused by this drug.
  • Use candy, gum or saliva substitute to relieve mouth dryness caused by this drug.
  • Avoid overexposure to sunlight, cold weather and wind as the skin is more prone to sunburns, dryness and itching.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF factor of 15 at least.
  • Wear protective clothing to prevent skin exposure to excessive sunlight.
  • Consult a psychiatrist when there are psychological effects of this drug like agitation, depression or suicidal thoughts.
  • Avoid using wax to remove hair from the skin.
  • Diabetics must keep an eye on their blood sugar levels as this drug affects the level of glucose in blood.
  • Anaphylaxis and asthma attacks are life threatening allergic reactions due to this drug. Refer to the emergency department as soon as possible in these cases.
  • Avoid being near those people who are sick as the number of white blood cells decrease by this drug.
  • Check for any bleeding or oozing from the body as number of platelets decrease during this therapy.
  • Do not start any other drug, prescription or non-prescription, without consulting your doctor.
  • Consult the doctor if any serious problem is suspected.
  • Storage of drug should be in a dry environment at room temperature. Keep it away from the reach of children.

5 Potential Side Effects

Absorica is associated with many side effects, some being life threatening conditions. It is necessary to get medical help in any problem for quick relief.

More common side effects include bone or joint pain, eye inflammation, difficulty moving, nosebleeds, inflammation of the lips and skin rash.

Less common problems include severe abdominal pain, thoughts and attempts of suicide, back pain, bleeding gums, blurred vision, changes in behavior, decreased vision at night, severe diarrhea, severe headache, mental depression, nausea and vomiting, pain or tenderness of the eyes, stiff muscles, rectal bleeding and yellowing of eyes or skin.

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