Women using popular acne drug aren’t following advice to avoid pregnancy
Isotretinoin is a popular anti acne medication. Reuters reports on findings indicating that up to two
thirds of reproductive age women taking isotretinoin are not following pregnancy prevention guidelines.
These multinational findings suggest that 4-6 out of every thousand such women got pregnant while on
the medication and up to four times that number got pregnant within forty two weeks of taken
isotretinoin. One study identified 1473 such pregnancies, of these 8% resulted in live pregnancies, 20%
in miscarriages and 71% were terminated. Of the live births, 9% had birth defects.
Efforts in the United States to prevent pregnancies while on isotretinoin include the prescription and
dispense of this medication only by registered physicians and pharmacists, as well as, the need for
patients to register with the FDA iPLEDGE program. Despite these precautions and efforts, contraceptive
compliance and unintended pregnancy rates are similarly worrying in the US.