Accutane® Long-Term Side Effects

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Some of the most serious long-term side effects of acne medication Accutane® include inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Among other grave side effects of Accutane® are the birth defects the drug causes when taken by a pregnant woman.

Because of the gravity of these side effects, and the resulting cost of thousands of law suits filed against the manufacturer, Hoffmann-LaRoche, the company withdrew Accutane® from the market Nov. 8, 2009. The company blames the decision to pull the drug from the market on financial reasons. Generic versions of Accutane® are still being sold in the U.S.

Accutane® and Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease, which is a lifelong condition of the colon, the small intestine, or both that alternately flares up and subsides. The disease may penetrate the layers of the colon tissue. Although Crohn's disease is not curable, it may be treated with medication and if medication fails, surgery is another option. When the disease flares, as it will do off and on for life, the side effects include:

  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite
  • sweating at night
  • rectal pain
  • rectal bleeding

The pain of Crohn's disease may be extreme and the side effects of the treatment, whether medication or surgery, can be severe. Medication, depending upon the type, may cause side effects such as:

  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe side effects of corticosteroids, including puffy face, facial hair, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and bone fractures, stunted growth in children, susceptibility to infection
  • Risk of cancer
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Fatigue
  • Grave brain infection
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

If medication fails, surgery is the other option. Surgery, like medication, cannot cure Crohn's disease, but can help alleviate some of the pain and other symptoms. The side effects of the surgery depend upon where the disease occurs, whether in the intestines or the stomach.

Accutane® and Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis, unlike Crohn's disease (which penetrates the colon) affects the lining and surface of the rectum and colon. The places in the colon where the cells have been killed by inflammation are covered with ulcers. A number of drugs can help treat the condition, which can enter remission for a long time. When ulcerative colitis is severe, surgeons must cut out the colon.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Skin sores
  • Pain in the joints

Accutane® and Birth Defects

Accutane® also can cause severe birth defects and death of a newborn or fetus if the mother took the medication when she was pregnant. In fact, the side effects are so severe that women of childbearing age need to sign a special agreement stating they will use two forms of birth control for at least one month after taking Accutane®. Should a person become pregnant while taking the acne medicine, she must stop using it immediately and consult her doctor.

Contact an Accutane® Side Effects Lawyer

If you or someone you love has endured the terrible long-term side effects of Accutane®, you should talk with an Accutane® attorney who is an expert in pursuing your type of case. You deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering and all the expenses you have accrued. A qualified legal professional will evaluate your case for free and will only accept your case if it has true merit.

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