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How effective and safe isotretinoin medication is for acne treatment
Accutane (Isotretinoin) is an active form of vitamin A, which has a powerful sebum-regulating action. The emergence of this component almost led to a revolution in the treatment of severe forms of acne. Indeed, cosmetics based on isotretinoin are often a real salvation for those who have not been helped by other methods of treatment of acne. At the same time, isotretinoin is considered to be quite a counter-reactive and powerful, but dangerous-cosmetic component that must be used with extreme caution (preferably under the supervision of a dermatologist), but it is indispensable for a number of reasons.
The effect of isotretinoin in cosmetics:
Accutane (Isotretinoin) is a powerful anti-acne drug that belongs to the class of retinoids, that is, it is derived from vitamin A. This ingredient essentially works by slowing the synthesis of skin in the sebaceous glands (the main structures that produce skin fat). However, Isotretinoin is a retinoid, which is so powerful that it literally reduces the glands to “child” size. Accordingly, it prevents hypersecretion of sebum and also prevents clogging of hair follicles, which are otherwise clogged when combined with keratinized cells of the epidermis. Their walls are compacted, and taking into account the hypersecretion of the sebaceous glands, it creates an environment favorable for the prosperity of Propionibacteria (Propionibacterium acne). As you know, these microorganisms are one of the leading factors that provoke the formation of acne. Moreover, bacterial damage can progress to such an extent that acne can even eventually form into cysts and leave deep scars on the skin (so-called post-acne).
Acne is, in fact, clogged sebaceous glands. Sebum provides a normal appearance and activity of the skin. It is produced by microscopic glands and is secreted through special ducts. When such a duct is blocked, sebum accumulates in the gland and causes inflammation. In addition, a clogged gland has optimal conditions for the development of microorganisms and, as a result, the process is exacerbated.
In general, the effectiveness of isotretinoin is due to the impact on all major links of the pathogenesis of acne. Isotretinoin binds to nuclear receptors, resulting in reduced differentiation of the sebaceous glands cells, which leads to a marked decrease in their size, as well as the number and activity. The use of this component leads to a significant reduction in the synthesis of sebum, as well as prevents the appearance of comedones, which indirectly reduces the activity of propionic bacteria. In addition, it has a direct anti-inflammatory effect.
This component prevents the severe course of acne. When treatment with isotretinoin is completed, the relatively normal synthesis of sebum is resumed. Of course, the size of the sebaceous glands slowly begins to grow over time, but they rarely become as large as they were on the eve of treatment with isotretinoin.
For whom is Accutane (Isotretinoin) prescribed?
While other retinoids are used in cosmetics as anti-aging agents and even exfoliants, the main indication of Accutane (Isotretinoin) is acne (usually accompanied by serious clinical manifestations or its resistant forms). Due to its relatively rapid onset of action and high efficiency, isotretinoin treatment reduces the symptoms of acne (in particular, inflammatory skin lesions) in more than 90% of cases (even in the most severe degree). In addition, isotretinoin affects the final differentiation of keratinocytes, as well as normalizes redox and regeneration processes in the skin.
Who should not use Accutane (Isotretinoin)?
It should not be used by pregnant women, as well as by women during lactation. This anti-acne agent is considered harmful mainly because its most insidious side reaction is a teratogenic effect: an overdose of retinoids when taken orally in pregnant women can cause severe fetal development disorders.
In addition, there are also temporary side effects of isotretinoin: they include dry skin and lips, hair loss, soreness, itching, rash, skin irritation, photosensitization (increased sensitivity of the skin to the sun), severe peeling of the skin of the palms and hands, as well as yellowing of the skin.
If the drug is taken orally, this substance can trigger more serious systemic side effects: strong headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, changes in mood, depression, mild bleeding from the nose, bowel problems, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, decreased night vision, constant dry eyes, calcium deposits in tendons, and high cholesterol levels.