Isotretinoin (13-cis-retinoic acid) is a medication primarily used to treat severe acne. Rarely, it is also used to prevent certain skin cancers (squamous-cell carcinoma), and in the treatment of other cancers. It's sold under various brand names, including : Accutane, Roaccutane, Rizuderm.
While isotretinoin is currently the most effective agent for patients with moderate-to-severe acne, the drug’s potential to induce human congenital abnormalities, and its wide range of side-effects, is driving research to find replacements. This is hampered because :
“Isotretinoin's exact mechanism of action is unknown, but several studies have shown that isotretinoin induces apoptosis (programmatic cell death) in various cells in the body.”
Further info : Wikipedia