On the Topic of Birth Defects...

Throughout middle school and high school I had acne. Bad acne. Terrible, awful, painful, embarrassing acne that made me really self conscious about how I looked. My mom did everything, she bought me every cream, soap, scrubber, and system that claimed it would fix my skin. Nothing worked for years. We went to see a dermatologist who prescribed pill after pill, harsh creams, and weird face masks. After years of struggling, we sat down with her and asked "Why isn't anything working?" Her response was to tell us about a miracle acne cure-all, Accutane. Six months from that day I could be nearly acne free. The catch though, and the reason that wasn't the first, second, or third thing we tried, were the side effects.

That chart doesn't mention birth defects. The birth defects from Accutane are terrifying and dangerous, so every female prescribed the drug has to commit to the iPledge program.

The March of Dimes website lists the potential birth defects as heart defects, intellectual disabilities, cleft palate, ear and eye defects,microcephaly, and hydrocephalus.

Here's my summary of the iPledge program:
The day your dermatologist suggests Accutane and outlines the potential side effects and overall results of the drug, male and female patients sign a document promising not to share the drug with other people, take the drug in any way other than the one prescribed, and not to donate blood. Female patients must also agree to always use two forms of birth control (abstinence, condoms, the pill, etc.)

Female patients will then have blood drawn. The office will make sure you aren't pregnant and check other things such as cholesterol that can be affected by Accutane. They must wait one month, take another pregnancy test and have their other circumstances checked before being administered the drug.

The blood tests and pregnancy tests continue every month until one month after you have stopped taking the drug. It is a pain in the ass but obviously necessary to protect yourself and prevent pregnancy complications and life threatening birth defects.

Read more about the iPledge program here.


After reading your article I went on to do some researching on my own and found this article- http://www.livestrong.com/article/106967-accutane-skin/. I was reading some more information about benefits, different effects, and how your skin changes. Taking the pill is kind of a win-lose situation in my opinion. It is nice that you can do something so easy as take a pill, but then the downfall of all the side effects on your chart. I wish a scientist or doctor could come up with a way to prevent break-outs in general, whether it is for teens and adults or people who suffer bad acne.

I actually went on accutane my junior year of high school and regret it 100%. It didn't help, if anything, it made my skin worse. I had a terrible reaction to it and broke out worse than I could have ever imagined. Here I am, three years later, still with scars on my face from what the accutane did. I'm not saying people shouldn't use it, but there is always the chance of something going wrong.
I found a forum online with other people's opinions/reviews of accutane

I took it junior year of high school as well. It mostly cleared my face up but it has returned now unfortunately. I also experienced most of the side effects namely, joint pain, chapped lips, nosebleeds. It was pretty unpleasant and I'm disappointed that it's back. I remember hearing about the possibility of Crohn's disease from taking Accutane, but I find it interesting that this has been discounted recently:

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