For those who want to know more about Roaccutane here is the history of this product
Isotretinoin (INN) (pronounced /ˌaɪsoʊtrɨˈtɪnoʊɨn/) is a medication used for the treatment of severe acne. It was first developed to be used as a chemotherapy medication for the treatment of brain cancer, pancreatic cancer, and more. It is still used in the treatment of these cancers to this day because of its ability to kill rapidly dividing cells. The effects of the medication are systemic and non-selective. In some cases, it is used to treat Harlequin-type ichthyosis, usually a lethal skin deformation in which sufferers develop armor plated-like skin and usually die soon after birth. It is a retinoid, meaning it derives from vitamin A and is found in small quantities naturally in the body. Oral isotretinoin is marketed under various trade names, most common ones being Roaccutane (Hoffman-La Roche, known as Accutane before July 2009), Amnesteem (Mylan), Claravis (Barr), Clarus (PremPharm), Decutan (Actavis), Isotane (Pacific Pharmaceuticals), Izotek (BlauFarma), Oratane (Genepharm Australasia), ISOTRET (Liva Healthcare Ltd.) or Sotret (Ranbaxy), while topical isotretinoin is most commonly marketed under the trade names Isotrex or Isotrexin (Stiefel).
An early treatment of acne first used during the 1930s was high doses of the fat-soluble vitamin A (retinoic acid). At these dosage levels (sometimes 500,000 IU per day), sebum production is notably reduced, thwarting acne, but overly dry hair is a negative side-effect, and such high doses can lead to vitamin A toxicity. Use of animal-based vitamin A at nutritive levels (where the upper limit dosage is 10,000 IU daily), taken over the course of a year, has also been shown to reduce acne.
Building on the discovery that vitamin A can inhibit sebum production at toxic dosages, the retinoic acid derivative isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) was developed in 1982 by Hoffmann-La Roche. Dr. Gary Peck is credited with discovering its use for the treatment of cystic acne as well as disorders of keratinization such as lamellar ichthyosis, Darier's disease, and pityriasis rubra pilaris. In addition, he demonstrated its chemopreventive properties in patients with Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome, also known as nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome and Gorlin's syndrome. In fact, within one year of attaining the U.S. patent for discovering the use of isotretinoin in the treatment of acne, he received the Inventor's Award from the US Department of Commerce and a Meritorious Service Medal from the US Public Health Services in 1983. In 2003, he was honored with The Discovery Award by the Dermatology Foundation in "recognition of extraordinary scientific accomplishments that have had a profound influence on the specialty of dermatology and have gained the respect and admiration of the world scientific community".
Dosage requirements of isotretinoin have been disputed. After a 1984 study funded by Roche, relatively high dosages of isotretinoin became mainstream in treatment in the United States. Lower dosages were found to be effective in treatment by independent research (see dosage section of this article).
From the time of its introduction, the drug was known to have teratogenic potential, and pregnancies with the drug were strongly discouraged. When they occurred, they were found to have approximately 30% rates of congenital malformation, versus a 3-5% baseline risk. Beginning in 1998, prescriptions of the drug came under scrutiny, as fewer than half of prescribers were testing for pregnancy, usually relying on less sensitive urine tests. On the grounds that pregnancies by women taking the drug had been underreported by the manufacturer between 1982 and 2000, and that, once generic manufacturers entered the market risk management was no longer centralized, the FDA instituted restrictions on prescribing and dispensing the drug, first with the "System to Manage Accutane Related Teratogenicity" (SMART) in 2000, and subsequently the iPLEDGE program in 2006. A retrospective cohort study recently found that pregnancy rates were quite high during the period (1 per 30 women per year), and 84% of pregnancies were ended by induced abortion.
In February 2002, Roche's patents for isotretinoin expired, and there are now many other companies selling cheaper generic versions of the drug. On June 29, 2009, Roche Pharmaceuticals, the original creator and distributor of isotretinoin, officially discontinued both the manufacture and distribution of their Accutane brand in the United States due to what the company described as business reasons related to low market share (below 5 percent) coupled with the high cost of defending personal-injury lawsuits brought by some patients prescribed the drug. Generic isotretinoin will remain available in the United States through various manufacturers. Roche USA continues to defend Accutane and claims to have treated over 13 million patients since its introduction in 1982. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. apparently will continue to manufacture and distribute Roaccutane outside of America.
Isotretinoin is available over the internet from countries where it can be dispensed without a prescription. This presents a dilemma for acne sufferers residing in countries with highly regulated medical and pharmaceutical industries (FD&C Act), as private importation might violate existing statutes.
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