Isotretinoin during pregnancy – side effects

There are drugs which are not quite safe and a big deal of cautiousness is always required during their use. Isotretinoin can be undoubtedly named a drug of this kind.

Isotretinoin is one of the most well-known and the most effective drugs that are used for acne treatment. Isotretinoin is the most widely known as Roaccutane – a trademark under which the most commonly used preparation containing isotretinoin is sold. As per its origin isotretinoin is a drug from the group of retinoids – synthetic analogues for vitamin A. Among retinoids, isotretinoin is the most powerful and effective. But at the same time it possesses some side effects, which imply that this drug should be used very carefully, as it has been already mentioned above.

Isotretinoin has complex action, but the main thing is that this preparation reduces production of sebum and consequentially quantity of acne emerging on the skin decreases significantly. Because of its strength and all the side effects, isotretinoin is mostly prescribed in the most complicated and severe cases, on advanced stages of development of acne, when scars are formed, when acne becomes to cause serious psychological problems etc.

Concerning side effects, there are also some contraindications, which imply that in some cases isotretinoin can’t be used at all. The strongest contraindication for using isotretinoin is pregnancy.

While generally side effects of isotretinoin, which healthy and not pregnant people have, are curable and predictable, during pregnancy as well as in some other cases (e.g. pancreatic diabetes) this drug can bring terrible effects. If isotretinoin is taken during (or no more than 3 months before) pregnancy, it can cause severe abnormalities in the fetus’s development, as well as miscarriages.

That’s why it is extremely important to pass pregnancy test before taking isotretinoin, as well as to have reliable contraception within all the course of treatment, or not to have sexual contacts at all.

Jerry K

Dr. Jerry K is the founder and CEO of, part of a team of more than 30 experts. Dr. Jerry K is not a medical doctor but holds a degree of Doctor of Psychology; he specializes in family medicine and sexual health products. During the last ten years Dr. Jerry K has authored a lot of health blogs and a number of books on nutrition and sexual health.