Lab Monitoring of Accutane
Prior to starting Accutane therapy, patients should have blood work to check triglyceride levels, liver functions, and a complete blood count. Women should also have a pregnancy test. Periodically during the course of therapy, but especially one month after starting therapy, these labs are checked again.
Finishing Therapy With Accutane
A standard course of therapy is 16 to 20 weeks. At the end of 16 weeks, about 85% of patients are clear. The beneficial effects of Accutane do not stop when the drug is discontinued. A further reduction of acne lesions and improvement of scarring is seen for months after treatment has stopped. Another beneficial affect of Accutane is that after a course of the drug, the skin usually responds better to conventional acne therapy.
Final Thoughts About Accutane
The side effects of Accutane therapy have prevented some people from considering it as a viable therapy. However, the majority of side effects go away after the drug is discontinued with the notable exception of the birth defects. Despite its side effects, Accutane remains the most powerful and promising therapy for moderate to severe acne. Used in a prudent manner, with careful monitoring, it can change the life of an adolescent or young adult.