Isotretinoin Acne Treatment (Roaccutane)
While there are many treatment options available for acne, oral isotretinoin (Roaccutane) is one of the most effective treatments for severe and chronic acne and for preventing further scarring. In order to minimize risks and side effects, blood tests are required during treatment, and patients are closely monitored by their Dermatologist
What is Isotretinoin Acne Treatment (Roaccutane)?
At a Glance
- Guide Price: £260 for a new patient consultation and £200 for follow up appointments. Blood tests around £120. Medication costs around £60 per month supply of 20mg tablets
- Frequency: Appointments with your Dermatologist every 1-2 months, over a period of 4-6 months
- Risk: Not suitable for pregnant patients or those with a history of depression or mental health issues
- Aftercare: Sun avoidance and sun protection and a skincare regime to encourage skin recovery and reduce scarring
What is involved in Isotretinoin Acne Treatment (Roaccutane)?
Oral Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) can only be prescribed by a Dermatologist as it is a specialist medication. There is a broad range of acne medications available and the Dermatologist will firstly assess if Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) is the most suitable treatment for you. It is not suitable for female patients who are pregnant or trying to conceive, or in cases where patients have a history or susceptibility to depression.
The Dermatologist will calculate a dosage for the treatment, and treatment typically lasts for 4 months through to 6 months. Baseline blood tests are required before commencing testing full blood count (FBC), liver function tests (LFTs), urea and electrolytes (U+E’s) and cholesterol (fasting lipid profile). A repeat test is required 4 to 6 weeks into treatment, and in some cases further repeat tests are required. Female patients will need to have regular pregnancy tests and ensure that robust contraception is in place.
The Dermatologist will review patients every 4-8 weeks, and may increase the dosage as part of the review appointment.
It is not uncommon for patients to experience an increase in acne when starting treatment, and at each point that dosage is increased.
What are the risks or potential side effects of Isotretinoin Acne Treatment (Roaccutane)?
Side effects can include:
- Joint and muscle pain, back pain
- Dryness and cracking of the skin and lips
- Dry irritated eyes, inflammation of eye lids
- Skin rash, mild itching
- Dry mouth
- Dry nose, potential nose bleeds
As well as avoiding excess sun exposure, patients should also minimise alcohol consumption.
Further information on risks and side-effects can be found here.
What aftercare is required for Isotretinoin Acne Treatment (Roaccutane)?
While being treated it is important that patients:
- Avoid wax epilation, dermabrasion and laser skin treatment during treatment and for 6 months after treatment.
- Minimise excess sun exposure and use high SPF factor broad spectrum sunblock when in the sun
- Use plenty of moisturiser, particularly on the lips (we recommend Vaseline petroleum jelly)
- For female patients, avoid becoming pregnant
Some patients may need to repeat treatment with Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) in the future.
Acne scars will tend to fade over a period of six months once treatment has finished. Laser procedures such as ipixel / fraxel /resurfacing may be suitable at that point for further improvement of the skin.
What is the cost of Isotretinoin Acne Treatment (Roaccutane)?
Patients will need to be seen for an initial consultation and then typically for 3 follow-up appointments. Blood tests are required prior to treatment and then during treatment and we can organise those tests at a charge (around £120 – £150 per test), or your NHS GP may be able to perform those tests for you (that is at the discretion of your GP and their trust). Medication costs around £40-60 per month supply of 20mg tablets depending on which pharmacy you go to, and the typical dosage ranges from 40mg/month through to 80mg/month.
So total treatment cost including consultations, blood tests and medication would be expected to cost around £1,250 – £2,000 for the complete course.