Over the years there have been many reports on acne, depression and in the most serious of cases, suicide. This is mostly because of a treatment for severe acne, isotretinoin (Accutane), which is known to increase the risk of depression and suicide.
Research was done following 5756 people in Sweden from 1980-2001, before, during and after Accutane treatment for severe acne. Admissions to the hospital for suicide attempts were increased in patients during and for up to six months after completion of Accutane treatment.
Three years after Accutane treatment and for the next 12 years following, attempted suicide rates were back to normal levels, showing the treatment didn’t seem to have permanent effects. The results showed that it would take 2300 people treated with Accutane for 6 months to result in one additional first suicide attempt. In addition, the effect of Accutane on suicide attempts seemed to be stronger in women than for men, and the risk was higher among women who received two or more treatment courses. This could be because young women are more concerned about their appearance and disfiguring acne than young men.
In addition to suicide, there are other additional side affects linked to Accutane, these being cholesterol and vitamin D deficiencies. Accutane has been found to be a cause of increased cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides in several studies.
However, some studies have shown that Accutane leads to an improvement in anxiety and depression due to a clearing up of a patients disfiguring acne. This is still quite rare and it is still better to use a safe alternative treatment for acne.
Topical treatments are the best, and one which works in 80% of its patients is Aknicare. In a recent study it was tested against Duac where it proved to be more effective, click here to read the clinical study. It is also a very effective alternative to Accutane but without the risky side effects. The key products in the range (Aknicare lotion and Aknicare cream) are available on prescription or can be purchased on-line through the UK distributors SkinMed.