Acne is a very distressing disorder and can cause loss of self-esteem and lead to lack of confidence. Acne is a very common complaint and affects four-fifths of all teenagers and adults. While most mild cases of acne usually resolve, at least 20 percent of individuals develop severe acne. The treatment of acne is abysmal. So far, there is no ideal product and almost every week a new product is available on cyberspace.
One of the more effective treatments for acne has been the use of retinoids like Accutane. However, during the earlier clinical trials it was obvious that Accutane not only improved acne but it also affected behavior in some individuals. These behaviors changes included suicidal ideation, depression and severe anxiety. These emotional warnings have been on the Accutane packaging since it was first introduced into the North American market. Every now and then, there are isolated reports about individuals who have committed suicide while taking Accutane.
Now, some European researchers claim that the these reports of depression and suicidal ideation are overblown, because it is the acne which is responsible, not the drugs. The latest study from Norway revealed that levels of depression and suicidal ideation were two to three times higher in individuals with severe acne compared to those who had no skin problems. The researchers claimed that the depression previously associated with Accutane was in fact from the acne itself.
"There is a pretty strong and consistent association between acne and symptoms of depression or mental health problems," said Dr. Jon Anders Halvorsen of Oslo University Hospital, whose study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Accutane, manufactured by the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche, has always been a controversial medication since it was first introduced in 1992. Roche said that it intends to stop selling this highly effective drug because of the availability of generic Accutane, known as Isotretinoin.
There is no question that Accutane is probably the most effective medication for clearing acne, but it has also been associated with teratogenic effects if taken by pregnant women.