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Does Accutane Cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease? The Evidence Is Weak

At home the kids’ current TV show of choice is How I Met Your Mother, supplanting Scrubs as the veg out show in the evening. Both shows are always on a cable channel somewhere and are often broadcast late at night. Late night commercials can be curious, and as I work on projects, I watch the shows and commercials out of the corner of my eye.

Law firms trolling for business seem common. If you or a family member has had a serious stroke, heart attack or death from Avandia, call now. The non-serious deaths? I suppose do not bother. One ad in particular caught my eye: anyone who developed ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease (collectively referred to inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD) after using Accutane, call now. Millions have been awarded.

My eye may have been caught because of my new progressive lenses, but I will admit to an interest in inflammatory bowel disease, having had ulcerative colitis for years until I took the steel cure. It also piqued my interest as these were three conditions among which I could not seen any connections. Accutane, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s. One of these is not like the other. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

Summertime Acne Facts

With blonde hair and big blue eyes, she looked like a young Betty Draper from Mad Men. My patient, Julie, had been faithfully treating her acne for months. Just when it was starting to clear up (in time for her senior photos) — wham! — red dots cropped up over her forehead and cheeks. What went wrong? Summertime.

July can be the cruelest month for acne. Acne on the chest and back (bacne) and big, red pimples on your face can make going to the beach an embarrassing experience. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Dermatology Blog*

Powerful Acne Drug Forced Off Market By Lawsuits

Effective-Acne-Treatment-Severe-Nodular-AcneThe physical scars will be nothing compared to the emotional scars that will haunt the children.   I recently read  that the effective acne treatment Accutane was pulled off the market this summer quietly ending access to an excellent and effective acne treatment for millions of self conscious teens and young adults.  Accutane, or isotretinoin as it’s known, was used to treat severe nodular acne.

It turns out that Accutane was linked to inflammatory bowel disease, and other side effects resulting in thousands of lawsuits.  It spent twenty five years on the market embroiled in controversy.

Approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1982, Accutane has been the subject of controversy for years. It first garnered attention in the late eighties for causing severe birth defects. It has also been known to cause psychiatric problems, and has been linked to hundreds of cases of suicide in the United States. Accutane has also been associated with problems of the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, and pancreas, as well as the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and auto-immune systems.

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*