Alcohol and Accutane are probably not a safe combination, particularly if you drink large amounts.

Whenever you take a substance, whether it’s a prescription drug, an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, or an herbal supplement, there is the potential for side effects. This is particularly true when you mix medicines and supplements taken with alcohol.

Since Accutane is a commonly-used drug, people often wonder if it’s safe to drink alcohol while on Accutane. The following provides an overview of what you should know about Accutane and if it’s ok to mix it with alcohol.

Article at a Glance:

  • Your doctor may say a little alcohol is okay when you’re on Accutane, but these instructions should only come from your physician.
  •  The relationship between Accutane and alcohol is based primarily on the individual, their health and liver function, and other medicines they may be taking.

Can You Drink Alcohol on Accutane?

In general, alcohol and Accutane are probably not a safe combination, particularly if you are a heavy or binge drinker.

Some doctors may say that it’s okay to combine the two if you drink in moderation, but the answer will be based on your medical history, including any relevant information from blood tests as well as the health of your liver and any other substances you’re taking.

What Happens If You Drink on Accutane?

Accutane can have side effects related to the liver. If you combine the two, you could increase the chances of these dangerous side effects. Accutane can also increase the levels of lipids in your blood called triglycerides. High triglycerides can lead to pancreatitis, and the risk is greatly increased when combined with alcohol.

Along with possible liver toxicity problems, you may also experience side effects from combining Accutane with alcohol like redness or tenderness of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, and a rapid heart rate.

If you have a history of liver problems, your doctor will likely recommend staying away from both substances as they can cause further damage to your liver. Or, if you are taking any other medicines that might impact your liver, this is another situation in which your doctor will probably say not to combine the two. This is why it’s important that you tell your doctor about all other substances you take, including things like supplements and vitamins, and to be honest about your alcohol consumption.

What is Accutane?

Accutane is a very powerful acne treatment drug, derived from Vitamin A. It’s a safer alternative to trying to take large amounts of Vitamin A, which would end up building up in your tissue and could become dangerous. It usually clears acne within four to five months. Because of its potency, Accutane is very effective in treating many different types of acne ranging from moderate to severe, and it’s often prescribed for people who have tried other options with no success.

For around 85% of people who take Accutane, it completely clears up their acne by 16 weeks. For the rest, their acne typically clears after a longer course of treatment, sometimes up to 12 months.

The drug does have side effects, including those related to taking it along with alcohol use. People are instructed to take this medicine with food to help with absorption. Higher doses are usually more effective, but can also lead to more side effects. At high doses, side effects can include dry skin and itching, nosebleeds, joint and muscle pain, irritation of the eyes and eyelids.

Some people can experience less common symptoms like increased sensitivity to the sun and headaches.

What Else Should You Know About Accutane?

Along with knowing about possible interactions from alcohol use, there are a few other things to know about Accutane.

First, one of the biggest risks is becoming pregnant while on it, because it can cause serious damage to the fetus. People prescribed Accutane are required to complete additional paperwork that confirms they have been informed of the risk of birth defects. They are also required to use two forms of birth control while taking Accutane.

Also, many of the most common side effects including dryness can be solved with the use of moisturizer and SPF, and in some cases, acne may get worse before it gets better.

a man sitting on a bed with his head in his hands.
Can I Detox From Alcohol At Home?

Alcohol detox isn’t easy and not everyone can do it on their own. That is why alcohol detox and alcohol withdrawal treatment is administered by medical professionals.

a person holding a glass of beer on a couch.
Am I An Alcoholic?

Alcoholism takes many forms, and the stereotype doesn’t always hold true. So when do a few drinks with friends become a full-blown alcohol addiction? How do you know if you are an alcoholic?

a woman holding her stomach in front of her stomach.
Repairing Liver Damage From Alcohol Use

While cirrhosis scars from excessive drinking are irreversible, quitting alcohol and leading a healthier lifestyle can help your liver heal from alcohol-related liver disease.

a table topped with fruits and vegetables next to juice.
Foods to Eat When Detoxing From Alcohol

When detoxing, hydration is key. However, certain food groups also have benefits when it comes to helping with the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms and detoxification.

a white alarm clock sitting on top of a wooden table.
How Long Does Alcohol Detox & Withdrawal Take?

Detox from alcohol can begin within hours. Typically, alcohol withdrawal symptoms happen for heavier drinkers. Alcohol withdrawal can begin within hours of ending a drinking session.

a group of people holding glasses of beer.
What Are the Effects of Daily Drinking?

Daily drinking can have serious consequences for a person’s health, both in the short- and long-term. Many of the effects of drinking every day can be reversed through early intervention.

a woman in a business suit posing for a picture.
Editor – Nicole LaNeve
Nicole leads a team of passionate, experienced writers, editors and other contributors to create and share accurate, trustworthy information about drug and alcohol addiction, treatment and recovery for The Recovery Village and all Advanced Recovery Systems sites. Read more
a male in a white lab coat and tie.
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more

Layton A. “The use of isotretinoin in acne.” Dermato-Endocrinology, 2009. Accessed May 10, 2020.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.