The Drug Isotretinoin and Psychiatric Risks Analytical Essay

The Drug Isotretinoin and Psychiatric Risks
Looks for biological evidence for the problem of psychiatric risks associated with the acne drug isotretinoin.
# 119519 | 1,275 words | 8 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on May 05, 2010 in Psychology (Physiological) , Medical and Health (Pharmacy)

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This paper explains that, without a doubt, isotretinoin, a drug known by the trade name Accutane used in the treatment of severe nodular acne, has been linked to depression, suicidal ideation, suicide and psychosis. However, at the present time, the author states, there is no strong proof of a pharmacological mechanism that would account for psychiatric symptoms as a result of isotretinoin treatment. The paper recommends that the obvious benefits of isotretinoin in treating acne indicate its continued use. In addition, patients must be advised of potential depressive symptoms and actively assessed for these psychiatric risks at each visit.

Table of Contents:
Introduction to Isotretinoin
Psychiatric Risks
Isotretinoin Depression Studies
Cerebral Changes
Depression Testing in Rats

From the Paper:

"The results of the PET and MRI scans showed that administration of isotretinoin was associated with decreased brain metabolism in the orbitofrontal cortex, a brain region implicated for depression, after 4 months of treatment (Figure 1). This effect was seen for both absolute metabolism and for the ratio of orbitofrontal to whole brain metabolism (Bremner, 2005). According to (Bremner, 2005) the greatest cerebral change occurred in subjects who developed symptoms of headaches during their course of isotretinoin treatment; however, isotretinoin was not associated with any changes in depressive symptoms that were measurable with the Hamilton depression scale. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Barak, Y., Wohl, Y., Greenberg, Y., Dayan, Y., Friedman, T., Shoval, G., et al. (2005). Affective psychosis following Accutane (isotretinoin) treatment. International Clinical Psychopharmacology, 20(1), 39-41.
  • Bremner, D., Fani, N., Votaw, J., Brummer, M., Cummins, T., Vaccarino, V., et al. (2005).Functional Brain Imaging Alterations in Acne Patients Treated With Isotretinoin. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 983-991.
  • Complete Isotretinoin (13-cis-Retinoic Acid) information from (n.d.). Prescription Drugs - Information, Interactions & Side Effects. Retrieved April 7, 2010, from
  • Feeley, J., & Pearson, S. (June 26, 2009). Roche Pulls Accutane Off Market After Jury Verdicts Retrieved April 7, 2010, from ROACCUTANE_withdrawn_lawsuits.html
  • Ferguson, S., Cisneros, F., Hanig, J., & Berry, K. (2007). Oral treatment with ACCUTANE does not increase measures of anhedonia or depression in rats. Nephrotoxicology and Teratology, 29(6), 642-651.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Drug Isotretinoin and Psychiatric Risks (2010, May 05) Retrieved December 03, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The Drug Isotretinoin and Psychiatric Risks" 05 May 2010. Web. 03 December. 2021. <>