Despite the ongoing debate regarding the safety of isotretinoin (former brand name Accutane), the most commonly prescribed acne drug, a recent study has revealed that it does not boost depression among its users. Lead author Dr. Bethanee Schlosser, a professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, explained that the available medical literature had mixed suggestions pertaining to the worsening of depressive symptoms in those using isotretinoin.
Dr. Schlosser mentioned that the reflective population-based study suggested no depression risk in patients taking this drug as compared to the ones not using it. While Dr. Schlosser is convinced with the results of this recent study which is quite similar to her personal observation during her clinical practice, she feels it is very important that patients have an open dialogue with their dermatologists about the use of this drug.
Proper monitoring of patients required
According to Dr. Schlosser, it is important for dermatologists to probe every patient regarding the impact of acne outbursts on their mood. Apart from this, she also stresses the need for doctors to figure out if a patient of depression had an underlying medical history of acne or if they had used isotretinoin at any time during their treatment. Dermatologists must closely monitor patients after prescribing isotretinoin to notice any kind of adverse effects during the course of their treatment.
As part of this study, Dr. Schlosser and her team reviewed the medical records of around 38,000 patients with acne condition in the age group of 18 and 65. All these patients were diagnosed with an acne condition between 2001 and 2017 and were residents of the Midwestern region of the United States.
Of these, 1,100 patients were prescribed isotretinoin during their treatment, while the remaining 37,000 were not. The patients not prescribed the drug, were treated for around five months. Towards the end of the study, the researchers found that the early signs of depression were 1 percent lower in patients prescribed the drug (below 4 percent) as compared to the ones who were not prescribed the drug (around 5 percent).
Accutane may lower depression risk
According to Dr. Schlosser, dermatologists must first acknowledge the fact that an acne outbreak is itself often associated with issues like depression, low self-esteem, and increased risk of mood swings. In fact, the more severe the acne condition is in a particular patient, the more it is likely to impact the individual’s mood and quality of life. In such a situation, prescribing isotretinoin may actually help in decreasing the potential risk of depression, instead of aggravating it.
Although this study is a preliminary one, Dr. Marc Glashofer, a practicing dermatologist with The Dermatology Group in New Jersey, said that the results of this research did not come as a surprise to him. The study rather confirmed the fact that isotretinoin may decrease the risk of depression, thereby dispelling the myth that prescribing the drug may boost depression in acne patients. Dr. Glashofer further stated that though a correlation was suggested between depressive symptoms and the use of isotretinoin, no research backing the relationship between the two had been presented. This indicated that isotretinoin usage could not be considered as a potential risk factor for the onset or worsening of depressive symptoms in patients suffering from acne.
Dr. Glashofer suggested that parents of teens suffering from acne should not dissuade their kids from taking isotretinoin for either severe or mild acne. The medicine can easily help treat the aforementioned condition. To support his advice, he mentioned that previous studies had shown that treating acne with isotretinoin helped in improving symptoms of depression and anxiety in acne patients. In fact, it also helped significantly improve the quality of lives of acne patients.
Seeking help for depression
Nowadays it is no longer difficult to seek treatment for any kind of mental disorder. The diagnosis has become scientific and the current day mental health treatment centers are better equipped to help mental health patients. Credible centers provide evidence-based treatment modalities that entail therapies, medications, and alternative healing programs customized in accordance with the needs of the patient.
If you or a loved one are looking for a reliable depression treatment facility in your vicinity, get in touch with Medical Concierge Recovery. Our team of medical experts will offer you all the required assistance and help you overcome the disorder. You can also call our 24/7 helpline (877) 636-0042 or chat online with our admission counselor for more information about our state-of-the-art depression rehab center and how you can achieve lasting recovery.