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.
Table of Contents
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 You Should Know About Alcohol and Accutane
In general, alcohol and Accutane are probably not a safe combination, particularly if you are a heavy or binge drinker.
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.
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.
For example, 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 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.
Summing Up: Is it Safe to Mix the Two?
- 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.
Layton A. “The use of isotretinoin in acne.” Dermato-Endocrinology, 2009. Accessed May 10, 2020.
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