Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, have found that women who are taking a well-known drug for acne may have children who are susceptible to birth defects. What's worse, these women may not be getting the proper information they need about their options for preventing pregnancy.
Accutane, otherwise known by its medical name, isotretinoin, has been hailed the world over as one of the most effective medicines for the elimination of acne in history. Unfortunately, however, it is also known to enhance women's chances of birth defects if they take the anti-acne medication while pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
Any woman of childbearing age who is prescribed Accutane is observed by the Food and Drug Administration and must take part in their iPledge program. iPledge requires women who are going to take the drug to read an educational journal about the risks of Accutane and birth defects. It also requires women to take monthly comprehension tests and use two forms of contraception, as well as regularly submit to a series of pregnancy tests.
Unfortunately, however, the University of Pittsburgh has found that the iPledge program has been relatively unsuccessful. Women who were interviewed about the drug claimed that they were well aware of Accutane's possible adverse effects if they were to get pregnant, but that they were not well-informed about the types of contraceptives that they should use. Many women have complained that they are simply told "don't get pregnant," but aren't provided with the information and tools to help them avoid pregnancy.
Source: Ellwood City Ledger, "Research: Common acne drug could cause birth defects" 21 November 2013