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Side Effects of Isotretinoin

Vision changes, seizures, and hallucinations are some of the potentially serious side effects of isotretinoin that should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. However, side effects of this medication are typically minor and are generally easy to treat. Some of the more bothersome (but not usually dangerous) isotretinoin side effects include fatigue, nausea, and water retention.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Isotretinoin

Just like any medicine, isotretinoin (Accutane®, Absorica™, Amnesteem™, Claravis™, Sotret®) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the medication will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side isotretinoin effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are easily treated by you or your healthcare provider. However, serious side effects are possible.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with isotretinoin. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of isotretinoin side effects with you.)

Serious Isotretinoin Side Effects

Some side effects with isotretinoin are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Signs of psychiatric changes, such as:
    • A sad mood
    • Hopelessness
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
    • Loss of pleasure or interest in activities
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Changes in sleep pattern
    • Changes in weight or appetite
    • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
    • Restlessness or irritability
    • Acting on dangerous impulses
    • Hallucinations or delusions


  • Ringing of the ears (tinnitus) or hearing loss


  • Signs of liver damage, such as:
    • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice)
    • Upper-right abdominal pain (stomach pain)
    • High liver enzymes
  • Broken bones, which may be a sign of thinning bones (osteoporosis)


  • Any vision changes


  • Changes in blood sugar



  • A rash with blisters or with sores in the mouth or throat, especially if skin peeling occurs, as this may be a sign of potentially life-threatening problems known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis 



  • Signs of an allergic reaction
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