Isotretinoin use increases risk of depression, study says

June 3, 2008

Montreal - Isotretinoin, the active ingredient in the acne drug Accutane (Roche Laboratories), could more than double the risk of depression, according to results of a study reported by Reuters Health.

Montreal - Isotretinoin, the active ingredient in the acne drug Accutane (Roche Laboratories), could more than double the risk of depression, according to results of a study reported by Reuters Health.

The study, conducted by researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre here, reportedly is the first controlled investigation to find a statistically significant link between isotretinoin and depression.

The researchers emphasize that the absolute risk of isotretinoin use leading to depression is probably very small.

“Depression is likely to be a rare side effect of isotretinoin therapy,” the researchers write, adding, however, that “current guidelines should possibly be modified to include psychiatric assessments of patients prior to and during isotretinoin therapy.”

The research team studied 30,496 people from Quebec, Canada, who received at least one isotretinoin prescription from 1984 through 2003. During the study period, 126 of the patients had a depression-related diagnosis, hospitalization or treatment.

“Because depression could have serious consequences, close monitoring of isotretinoin users is indicated,” the researchers write.

The study appears in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

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