The healthy glow of a pregnant woman can also result in breakouts of acne, but Accutane is not the solution. Elevated hormone levels may bring about skin changes which makes acne a common complaint amongst pregnant women. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive a health care professional will not prescribe Accutane.
Can I Take Accutane While Pregnant? Answer: NO
If you are not pregnant, your doctor or dermatologist may treat your acne with prescription drugs such as Accutane, Retin-A, or Tetracycline. If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, you will not be treated with these drugs.
What is Accutane?
Accutane is a man-made form of vitamin A, which is taken orally to treat acne when other methods have failed. The generic name of Accutane is isotretinoin, and you may also be prescribed one of the other trade names such as Amnesteem, Claravis, and Sotret. Accutane works by reducing the amount of oil released by your oil glands in your skin and will also help your skin repair and renew itself more quickly allowing your skin to heal.
Why is Accutane Dangerous?
Accutane is known to cause birth defects, mental retardation, brain malformations, heart defects and facial abnormalities. It may also cause learning and behavioural difficulties in your child.
• Birth defects
• Mental retardation
• Heart defects
• Brain malformations
• Facial abnormalities
• Learning & Behavioral Difficulties
Even if you only take a very small amount for a very small period of time, you run the risk of affecting your baby. Accutane may cause these defects in the very early weeks of pregnancy – before you even realize you are pregnant. This drug may also increase your chances of miscarriage, premature delivery and infant death.
What is iPLEDGE And Why Does It Apply To Accutane?
When your doctor or dermatologist speaks with you about Accutane, you will be required to join the iPLEDGE program. Designed by the drug’s manufacturer, it aids medical professionals to avoid prescribing the drug to anyone who is pregnant and reduce the risks of women falling pregnant while taking the drug.
If you are discussing taking Accutane with your doctor, you will have the risks fully outlined to you. You will be required to show two negative pregnancy tests and be instructed on contraceptive methods and how to use them. You will be required to agree to use two contraceptive methods and sign a consent form agreeing you have been warned about the risks – all before you are given a prescription. It is also likely that you will have to return a negative pregnancy test prior to each repeat prescription. Accutane is a serious drug with serious risks for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
If you fear that you may have become pregnant while taking Accutane – call your medical care provider immediately. You may also call the iPLEDGE pregnancy registry at 1-866-495-0654.
Other Accutane Side Effects
Accutane can have severe side effects on a fetus, but there are also other side effects. If you are allergic to isotretinoin or to parabens you should not take this drug. If you suffer from depression, heart disease, osteoporosis, intestinal disorders, diabetes, asthma, eating disorders or liver disease you should also discuss further potential side effects with your doctor.
Other side effects of taking Accutane include irritation of the eyes and skin, joint pain and bone tenderness, rashes, nosebleeds, dry mouth, inflammation, hair loss, abnormal peeling of the skin, low energy and head pain.
How Long After I Stop Taking Accutane Can I Fall Pregnant?
Always consult your doctor or prescribing health care professional. When you sign iPLEDGE you agree to continue using two forms of contraception for thirty days after your last dose of Accutane.
I Think I Am Pregnant And I Took Accutane
Stop taking the drug immediately. Contact your health care provider and they will discuss the risks with you. You will also be advised of the kinds of testing you can undergo to see if your baby has been affected. Please be aware that these tests can potentially identify birth defects, but are not fail proof. They also cannot identify learning or development issues.
Pregnancy And Vitamin A
When pregnant, it is also advisable to avoid other drugs related to Vitamin A. There is no current evidence or clinical trial indicating that using Vitamin A creams on your skin affects your baby, but while pregnant it is best to avoid them. You should also avoid taking drugs with Vitamin A such as Tegison (etretinate) and Soriatane (acitretin).
We all want to be as healthy as possible while pregnant, and it can be a minefield understanding what is good for us and what can be potentially harmful. Don’t consume more than the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A and if you have any concerns, speak with your health care provider.